Laws regarding the debts of a spouse will vary from state to state. In some states, when two people marry they marry under "community of property". This means that all assets and debts are shared in the event of a divorce. In the event of the death of a spouse the remaining spouse can be held responsible for the debts. Virginia has its own sets of laws regarding the debt of a spouse and division of assets.
In the state of Virginia, each spouse is responsible for the debts that they hold in their name only. In the event of a divorce or death, the remaining spouse cannot be held responsible for payment of that debt unless their name is on the account. A spouse does have the option of paying the other's debt as part of the divorce agreement. However if that spouse fails to pay it is still the other spouse that will suffer the financial consequences. In this event a legal agreement needs to be put in place.
In the state of Virginia, when a husband and wife share a debt then it is their shared responsibility to see that it is repaid. The husband and wife can create a written agreement as to who pays how much but the written agreement has no real effect on the lender that the debt is owed. If a written agreement is reached and one spouse fails to his or her obligation, the courts can award monetary damages to the spouse if they pay both portions of the debt.
If the property was acquired during the marriage and both parties remain on the title then it is considered marital property. Marital property is owned jointly; therefore, both parties are responsible for the mortgage payments. In the event of a divorce the courts can award a jointly-titled property to one of the title holders. They can also order that the house be sold if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Regina Hamilton has been writing off and on since leaving college in 1992. Her experience includes content writing for a legal Web site but has recently moved on into other areas including eHow, Garden Guides and Answerbag. Hamilton has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Ohio State University.