Who is responsible for debt after divorce?

Who is responsible for debt after divorce?
Posted date: 30/05/2022

Case situation:

My wife often hangs out with friends all night and comes home late. There was one time when I went to work far away, as I called someone at home to ask at 3 a.m., I was told that she hadn't come back home yet. Although we have talked about this many times, the situation between us has become more and more tense and so we wanted to divorce. Before signing the application, my wife and I sat down for one last time. That's when I found out that my wife has a debt of 500 million, she said if we divorced, I would have to pay 50% of the debt for her, but I disagreed. I think this debt has nothing to do with me, my wife borrowed money to spend on her own entertainment and not for the family as she said. I want to ask if we get a divorce, am I legally obligated to pay this debt ?

FDVN’s Opinion:

Thank you for reaching out and expressing your interest in the services of FDVN Law firm. Regarding your inquiry, we have considered the relevant regulations and here is some information that you may find helpful:

According to Article 37 of Law on marriage and family 2014:

Article 37. Common property obligations of husband and wife

Husband and wife have the following common property obligations:

1. Obligations arising from transactions established under their agreement, obligations to pay damages under their joint liability as prescribed by law;

2. Obligations performed by a spouse in order to meet the family’s essential needs;

3. Obligations arising from the possession, use and disposition of common property;

4. Obligations arising from the use of separate property for maintaining and developing common property or for generating major incomes for the family;

5. Obligations to pay damages caused by their children as prescribed by the Civil Code;

6. Other obligations as prescribed by relevant laws.”

At the same time, Article 27 of this law stipulates that husband and wife shall take joint liability for the obligations mentioned above. Thus, if the transaction is established and performed only by the husband (or wife) but with the purpose to sustain the essential needs of the family, then the other person also has the joint responsibility to perform this obligation.

According to your information, you provided that the debt borrowed by the wife is a separate debt, not for the essential needs of the family. If so, then according to Article 45 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014, this debt falls under the wife's own obligations.

In order to protect your legitimate rights and interests, you will have to provide grounds to prove that the debt of VND 500 million is a private debt of your wife, you did not know about this debt, and the borrowing of money was performed by your wife alone. At the same time, it must be proved that the loan was not used by your wife for the essential needs of your family.

This is FDVN's legal advice regarding your request based on our research on relevant regulations. We hope this advice will be useful to you and feel free to contact us if you have any further question.

By Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thanh Trà – FDVN law firm

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