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Separating joint credit card debt during divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Property Division |

Divorce is an extremely emotional experience for most people going through the process. While it can take a physical as well as a psychological toll, it’s crucial to keep it from inflicting financial wounds.

While it’s essential to fight for your fair share of marital assets, you also want to avoid being saddled with unnecessary financial burdens. It’s vital for couples who have amassed significant credit card debt to understand how those liabilities are likely to be split in Texas.

Who is responsible for credit card debt?

Couples often share credit card accounts after getting married to consolidate debt, manage bills and roll up rewards points. But, marital credit card debt is typically accrued in two ways:

  • Individual accounts: One spouse is the only authorized user and liable for the balance to the bank or other issuer.
  • Joint accounts: Both spouses are authorized to use the account, and both are held responsible by the issuer for paying off the balance.

How is credit card debt divided?

Under Texas community property laws, spouses are entitled to receive half of all marital assets, and they are typically responsible for half of all debt resulting from the marriage. That holds true, regardless of whether the debt exists on individual or joint accounts.

There are some exceptions. A spouse running up gambling debts, spending money during the course of an affair, or buying things excessively after the divorce began can be held solely responsible by a judge for those expenditures.

Protect yourself and your finances

Even if a judge orders your spouse to pay a larger portion of marital credit card debt, credit card companies can still hold you responsible if your name is on the account. If your spouse refuses to pay or lets payments lapse, it can potentially affect your credit.

An experienced family law attorney can help you take steps to protect yourself. Paying off balances and closing joint accounts as soon as possible can help avoid issues. Your lawyer can also take legal action against a spouse who refuses to abide by the terms of a divorce decree.