Broker Check

Remarriage: Sharing Assets and Debts

August 02, 2019

When it comes to sharing assets and debts in remarriage, how "to have and to hold" can take some thought.

Type of Asset or Debt Factors to Consider

Debts incurred before remarriage

• Keeping these debts separate protects the non-debtor spouse's separate property
from creditors

Debts incurred
during the

• Sharing debt only for jointly acquired property protects both spouses' separate
property from creditors of the other spouse
• Debt for property owned separately should be the liability of the owner spouse only

Property owned

• Separate assets may be used to provide for children of a previous relationship
• Separate assets may be used to take advantage of both spouses' estate tax
applicable exclusion amounts
• Separate ownership protects each spouse from losing his or her assets to the other
spouse's creditors


• Owning your home jointly as tenants by the entirety can help protect it from many
potential creditors
• Seek advice before placing a debtor spouse's name on the title to the home--there
are numerous considerations
• Consider a Homestead Declaration for additional protection

Checking account

• Having one joint checking account to pay household expenses is convenient
• Each spouse can contribute equally or in proportion to earnings


• Even if you keep your investments separate, make investment decisions together
• Consider the effect on your combined portfolios when making investment decisions;
keep your overall portfolio diversified


• Prevent duplicate coverage and make sure that you have adequate coverage for
your combined needs
• Check whether it's less expensive to carry separate policies or combine both
spouses under one policy
• Check that the correct beneficiary has been named to life insurance policies
September 30