Generally, the community estate is liable for debts incurred by either of the spouse before or during their marriage and prior to their separation. Whatever remains of the community property after the payment of debts may be divided equally among the spouses, if there are no children involved.

But when the community debt exceeds the value of the community estate, the court may assign an “equitable allocation,” where the spouses’ “relative ability to pay” will be taken into consideration [California Family Code 2622 (b)].

The spouse who may be assigned the debt may request for a reservation of jurisdiction to change the judgment in case there is a change in circumstances in the future. An experienced divorce and family lawyer could provide more information regarding this and other options.