Back in the days before Gordon Brown aspired to greatness, a divorcing couple usually had some assets to share after their divorce. Now it's more likely to be a fight to the death about the ownership of debt.
What actually happened to cause a global economic crisis?
The world's bankers played a reckless high risk game using mortgages, mostly in the US to invent complex financial products called derivatives based on the value of these loans. Their purpose was to create vast profits for themselves. When many of the mortgages defaulted the derivatives became almost worthless.
Most of these bankers could not understand these products created by young maths and computer science graduates who thought that the world's financial markets ran to a set of rules that could be replicated by a bunch of computer algorithms. Many of these insane people had previously worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. How spooky is that?
Financial meltdown helps to create divorce
They thought they had invented the financial equivalent of a Perpetual Motion machine. They hadn't and we are all paying the price for their greed, ignorance and stupidity.
The real outcome is that most of us have seen a real drop in the the value of what we own and some of us don't have a job anymore. Both of these conditions do nothing for quality of life. They add to the stress of marriage and hence help create even more divorces.
Dealing with the debt
Debt and the management of debt is distressing. Having to deal with the debts of the marriage when you should be putting your energies into your new life after divorce is not a good place to be. The best advice is to seek help from reputable organisations who specialise in helping people with debt problems.
National Debtline offers free, confidential and independent help over the phone for people in England, Scotland and Wales. You can call their helpline on 0808 808 4000 and also download publications from their website http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/
Consumer Credit Counselling Service
The CCCS is a registered charity with a helpline providing free, independent and impartial advice to people who have debt problems on 0800 138 1111 and their website http://www.cccs.co.uk/.
Not such a good idea
You may come across companies who offer to sort out your debts for you on payment of a fee. The much better idea is to seek advice from debt professionals as above. Any money paid out as a fee would be much better spent reducing the amount of your debt.
Be very careful of companies who say they can make your creditors write off part or all your debt, this is unlikely to happen unless your circumstances are very special indeed. Using a company to consolidate can also be dangerous as these loans are usually secured against your property. If you don't keep up with the payments they could force you sell your home.