Who Is Responsible for the Credit Card Debt in a Divorce?
You are contractually responsible for any debt that is in your name, even if someone else acquired it or contributed to it, such as by being an authorized user on your credit card. If you don't pay the debt, the creditor can sue you and even try to collect on your share of jointly owned assets.
But the way the courts handle debt during a divorce depends on where you file. In common law states, which account for most of the country, courts will likely hold you responsible for credit card debt in your name and jointly liable for credit card debt in both names.
Nine states are community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In a community property state, any debt your or your former spouse "acquired after the date of marriage and before the date of separation is community property," says Kelly Chang Rickert, a Los Angeles-area divorce lawyer. So, both spouses are equally liable. However, debts in your name incurred prior to marriage or after separation or divorce are not considered community debts.
有9个州是共同财产州，包括：亚利桑那州、加利福尼亚州、爱达荷州、路易斯安那州、内华达州、新墨西哥州、德克萨斯州、华盛顿和威斯康星州。在共同财产州，你或者前夫/前妻"在结婚后、离婚前欠下的"债务都属于"共同财产，"洛杉矶地区的离婚律师Kelly Chang Rickert说道。所以，夫妻双方承担同等责任。然而，结婚前或分居/离婚后个人欠下的债务不被视作共同债务。
No matter where you live, division of debts may be less than straightforward. In both community property and common law states, even when you are not contractually liable for your former spouse's credit card debt, a judge may order you to pay a portion of it, particularly if the debt was incurred for items necessary for the household.
The circumstances of every divorce are different, of course. Other factors that the judge is likely to consider include the length of separation and any agreement the divorcing spouses have come to about specific debts. A judge may distribute responsibility for the debts in a way that is different from your contractual obligations to pay, but the judge's order does not change your contracts with your creditors.