You and your spouse's spending habits can become part of your divorce if you cannot decide how to divide up debt obligations. Read on and learn more about splitting up credit card debts with divorce.
Is Credit Card Debt a Marital Debt?
When a couple parts ways, the term marital debt can arise. Marital means "with marriage" so marital debt is any debts taken on after the couple was married. If Joe brings credit card debt into the marriage with Jill, Joe will remain responsible for that debt after the divorce occurs. However, if Joe and Jill take out a joint credit card, things could be different. When considering the two main ways divorce law looks at debts, be sure to consider the difference in marital debt and separate debt (debts present before the marriage).
Community Property Laws and Credit Card Debts
A few states use community property laws to determine who is responsible for credit cards and other types of debts with divorce. This way views a married couple as a community of two people. Communities are considered a shared existence and what applies to one applies to everyone belonging to the community. For credit card debts, all balances are considered half the responsibility of each spouse. That goes for all credit card debt, even if the party's name is not on the card.
If you live in a community property state, it's vital to see a lawyer immediately and have a legal separation agreement drawn up. You must declare that all debt after you separate is no longer marital debt. Otherwise, you could be responsible for paying your spouse's charges when you are no longer a couple.
Equitable Distribution Laws and Credit Card Debts
While this form of debt distribution could be seen as fairer, the debts are not automatically assigned to the person who owned the card. Equitable distribution is about looking at the entire marital estate before assigning debt responsibilities. In most cases, the person whose name is on the card must pay the debt. However, in some cases, the judge will impose more or less of the obligation on the parties. The judge may look at the total debt load of each party along with the property divisions so that the overall distribution of marital debt and property is fair.
If you have a lot of credit card debt, and many do, paying as much of it off as possible before the divorce is the easiest way to deal with it. To find out more, speak to a family law attorney.
Going through a divorce? I know how you might feel – alone, stressed out, and probably even a little sad due to the loss of the life you have always known. Whether you have children or not, you might even feel a little guilty about the break down of your relationship. But I'm here to tell you that a divorce is not the end of the world. In fact, once you get used to the idea and start to move on with your life, you may find just as much, if not more, happiness than you ever had while you were married! Getting through the proceedings of your divorce in a dignified manner is the first step, and hopefully this website will give you the insight, support, and motivation you need to get through the process as painlessly as possible.