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Debt Division

Westlake Village Divorce Lawyer – (805) 633-4999

California considers debt to be a real asset that needs to be divided during a typical divorce. This family law statute can often catch divorcing couples off-guard, as they had focused their time and energy on deciding how to divide property that is either more tangible or more desirable. If you need assistance regarding how you should go about debt division in your divorce, let me, Westlake Village family law Attorney Jeffrey Graff, help you. I have more than 35 years of experience managing complex family law disputes that I can put to good use for your case.

Protecting my clients’ best interests is a priority. Contact me today to start your case.

How California Divides Debt in a Divorce

Although no one wants to claim debt, someone has to take it during a divorce. To keep matters relatively simple, California considers debt to be an asset like any other item or property. The state will use several rules of division to decide who gets what debts and why.

While dividing debt, the court will need to consider:

  • Community or separate: When was the debt in question accrued? Debt accrued by one spouse before marriage could be considered separate and be given to that one spouse. Debt accrued during marriage might be community debt and divided between both spouses, even if the debt was formed through the purchase of an item or asset only one spouse used or enjoyed.
  • Equitable or equal: The court has some leeway when deciding how to divide community debt. Depending on how the debt was accrued, it could be equitably or equally distributed. Equitable distribution will split the debt fairly, whereas equal distribution will try to split it 50-50.

To avoid placing the decision of debt division in the hands of a family law judge, you and your spouse can agree upon debt division yourselves and bring the agreement to the court for final approval. If this is a route you think you would prefer, do not hesitate to ask me about mediation or collaboration to work together with your spouse during your divorce.

You Can Count On Me 24/7/365

As a Westlake Village divorce attorney who prioritizes the needs of his clients, I always do my best to stay communicative with people who retain my services for their debt division case, divorce, or family law dispute. When you are my client, you should feel free to call me at any time of any day, even holidays, weekends, and late in the night. I believe this is crucial for establishing a personal connection with my clients, which is allows me to better understand their objectives during divorce and construct a strong case on their behalf.

I offer free consultations to inquiring clients. Contact me today to get started.

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients


    “Mr. Graff was FANTASTIC!!! At the first meeting he was very knowledgeable as to my case details and clearly described the necessary procedures that I should expect. He was available anytime I had a question and always responded right away. When the court date arrived, he was absolutely the most professional in his presentation to the judge (compared to the other attorney who mumbled her way through) and I won my case. You can not go wrong with Jeffrey!!”


  • I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades.

    “I knew Jeffrey personally as a proud family man and a pillar of the community with an stellar reputation as a family/divorce attorney. When my daughter was going through her divorce and had several bad experiences with two attorneys, in the Westlake Village area, I recommended Jeffery to her. After meeting with us to discuss the situation and issues, Jeffery and his staff went to work, we went to court, Jeffery not only got the results my daughter had hoped for, but also managed to have the opposing party cover his fees, he is beyond knowledgeable, professional and fair, he's brilliant at what he does and worth every penny. I have since recommended Jeffrey to all my friends and acquaintances who need legal help and will continue to do so. I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades and thanks for his help and exceptional negotiating skill in settling the case, thank you, again.”

    Dianne R.

  • Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount we paid cut down by more than half!!

    “Jeffrey handled my Family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex’s got a big child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to Jeffrey handled my family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex-wife. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex-wife had a huge child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to court for that!! Then, she started coming after us for this big child support money every month. She wouldn’t even let her kids come over to visit with us and my kids, but just wanted the money and my husband wasn’t working. My co-worker went to Jeff for her divorce and she told me to call and talk to him. I am so thankful that I called him. I talked to him and he explained everything to me. I needed that because I didn’t know what to do. My husband and I met with him in his office. Jeff and the secretary were both so nice and very professional. I completely trust them! Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount my husband pays to his ex-wife cut down by more than half!! And on top of that got the judge to make my husband’s ex let the kids come and visit with my husband, who is still hurt, and my kids. Everything worked out so much better than I thought it could. I didn’t know we had a choice and that we could go to the judge to lower the support AND let us see the kids. I would recommend Jeff to anyone who need help with family law. Very Helpful.”


  • I felt that he always had my best interest in mind!

    “I selected Jeff to represent me because he specialized divorce cases and had worked with the Ventura County judges for many years. He was very patient with me as dealt with the emotions of getting a divorce after a 19-year marriage, and helped me through the terrible stress of facing my ex-spouse and being in the courtroom. He gave me very good advice on how to manage the property settlement, especially on when I should capitulate and when I should hold my ground. I felt that he always had my best interest in mind (rather than just collecting his fee) and worked diligently to bring the case to a fair conclusion.”

    Mrs. M

  • I highly recommend!

    “My experience with Jeff's expertise was non other than A-one! He tackled my case swiftly and efficiently with the utmost professionalism. I highly recommend!”

    Former Client