When am I responsible for the credit card debt of my spouse?

Question

When am I responsible for the credit card debt of my spouse?

Answer

Passing credit card debt to your spouse is a legitimate concern for someone trying to settle their debts. The only time that a spouse is responsible for the others debt is when both parties signed off on a debt. It's an accepted fact that the person who guaranteed the debt is the one who's liable for paying it off and no one else.

Debts Incurred Before and During a Marriage

Just because two people happen to be married does not mean that one is responsible for the others debt. One spouse may have racked up quite a lot of debt before marriage and now needs to deal with it. Because the other spouse never put their signature anywhere, a collector has no right to come after them. Attempts may be made to get that spouse to pay on the debt, but there is no legal obligation to do so.

This carries over into a marriage when both parties keep their finances separate. In the case where both signed to guarantee a credit card, both are now responsible for any charges to that card. Each party has agreed to be held liable to the debt. So when one fails to pay or files bankruptcy, the remaining card holder has to pay down the debt.

Talk to a Lawyer

It's time to talk to an attorney when there are debts causing problems in the marriage. Too many things can go wrong when the calls are ignored.  Your ultimate goal should be to hire an attorney for full protection of your rights.

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