Select your state


breaking a lease during divorce

Spouses contemplating or proceeding with a divorce who have a residential lease obligation should read the lease agreement to determine if both spouses are named as tenants, and whether there are early termination provisions that may be available—if the spouses are interested in early termination of the lease.

If the spouses live in a community property state (as opposed to a common law state), both spouses may be liable for the lease payments even if both spouses are not named as tenants in the lease agreement. Community property states generally include Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In Texas, which is a community property state, both spouses may be held responsible for lease payments during a divorce, even if only one spouse is named on the lease agreement. This is because debts incurred during the marriage are generally considered community obligations. When contemplating or proceeding with a divorce, it is important for spouses to review their lease agreement to understand their rights and obligations. The lease may contain early termination provisions that could be utilized if both parties agree to end the lease early. However, if the lease does not have such provisions, or if the landlord is not willing to negotiate, both parties may remain liable for the lease payments until the lease term expires or until they come to an agreement with the landlord. An attorney can provide guidance on how to handle the lease obligation during a divorce and may assist in negotiating with the landlord or in court proceedings if necessary.

Legal articles related to this topic