Americans have a long-standing romance with their credit cards. The cherished plastic allows the average-earning American to live beyond their means, acquire expensive goods without paying upfront and travel the world without the worry of affordability. However, according to the Federal Reserve, Americans have begun reducing credit card expenditure, likely a result of the weakened economy. Recent trends indicate consumers are spending less on luxury items and using credit cards primarily for auto and student loans.
In the community property state of California, credit card debt is usually divided equally, along with all other marital assets and obligations. What, then, do you do if your soon-to-be-ex ran up the credit cards on items which were not shared?
THE COURT CAN ASSIGN DEBT TO ONE PARTY
When examining the credit card expenditures incurred during the marriage, the Court can make a distinction between purchases made by either spouse and benefited the marriage, and those that were not shared. For example, if one spouse used a jointly held card to go on vacation with an extramarital romantic partner, that debt can be assigned solely to one spouse.
THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY CAN HOLD YOU LIABLE
Unfortunately, the credit card company is under no obligation to the Family Court and does not have to abide by any agreement. Even if the Court agrees you should not be liable, if your spouse fails to pay the debt, the credit card company can still come after you.
WHAT ABOUT BANKRUPTCY?
If your ex declares bankruptcy and as a result is discharged from credit card debt, that does not mean you are also discharged.
If you are in a situation which involves anything beyond the simple division of assets and debt, speak to a San Diego divorce attorney who can make sure you are not legally responsible for anyone else's debt.