No matter how long the marriage lasts, a couple will likely accumulate numerous assets and debts while together. From purchasing a home to completing a rare book collection, a married couple will have to carefully examine their inventory when divorce becomes a reality. Unfortunately, while it might seem like a straightforward task to divide assets, the division of debt responsibility can become a burden.

Divorcing couples will likely worry about dividing bank accounts, the family business or retirement funds but other financial matters can be even more complex. Shared credit cards, for example, or medical debt acquired over the course of the marriage might not divide so easily. Here are three negotiating tactics that might help you reach an agreeable compromise:

  • Pay off the debt now: It might be easier said than done, but debts such as credit cards, car loans or medical bills could potentially be paid off before the divorce. This gives you and your spouse a better chance to make a clean split.
  • Look at the full financial picture: Remember that both debts and assets are being divided. It is not uncommon for one party to accept responsibility for a debt if it means he or she receives a desired asset.
  • Debts could be split down the middle: While this won’t be a good choice for many couples, some couples can work out the division of debt responsibility to split evenly.

Generally, property and asset division are met with positive associations since these negotiations form the foundation of your independent financial future. However, the division of debt responsibility can seem more like a punishment. It is wise to approach both as two parts of a complete financial strategy.