"Should I consolidate our debt before getting a divorce?"
Debt consolidation is a financial device that allows debtors to turn several high-interest loans into a single loan—allowing for a single payment. It's a good way to manage a large number of payments while saving money on interest long-term. However, debt consolidation could have a significant effect on your post-divorce future.
Because Massachusetts is not a community property state, it matters whose name is signed to what debts during the divorce proceedings. If your spouse bought a new car or took out a loan for your stepchild's college tuition, that loan belongs to him or her—not the two of you together.
Here's why debt consolidation could alter the course of your divorce:
Debt consolidation rolls all of your debts into one—and if both of you roll your debts into a single account, then both of your names are attached. Once that happens, the judge is going to ask you to treat your consolidated debt as a single piece of property.
We've heard stories of spouses who felt like a divorce was in their near future...and then their spouse suggested consolidating their debt. On the surface, it looks like a move to further entwine your assets and debts. In reality, it may be a tactic to put themselves in the strongest possible financial position before the divorce begins.
If you have less debt in your name than your spouse does, then debt consolidation won't help you—even if you end up not divorcing. If you think a divorce is imminent, the best move you can make is to protect your assets (and your debts).
For valuable advice regarding your divorce, call (508) 502-7002 to get a free review of your case. The Massachusetts family lawyers at Miller Law Group serve families from 5 different offices throughout the state—let us help you take the next step.