Do I Still Have To Pay Off Marital Credit Card Debt If The Card Isn’t In My Name?
One of the most common questions we receive from couples who are initiating the divorce process is who will be responsible for paying off credit card debt incurred during the marriage. This often proves to be an especially pressing concern for those who weren’t responsible for taking out the card. In most cases, the responsibility for paying off marital debt must be shared in an equitable, or fair manner. While it can feel unfair to one spouse who didn’t incur the debt and whose name isn’t even on the credit card, the reality is that a divorcing couple will usually have to continue paying off these amounts together if they were incurred during the marriage, even after divorce.
The Equitable Division of Marital Debts
Under Florida law, all marital debts and liabilities must be divided equitably between divorcing couples. Generally, this means that any debt acquired during the marriage will need to be divided fairly between the parties. This is true regardless of who took out the debt or whose name is on the credit card. It is, however, important to note that when determining what is a fair division courts will take into account other factors, like each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and whether either party has intentionally depleted or destroyed marital assets. If there is evidence that a spouse took out a credit card to purposely run up debt in an effort to punish the other spouse, or used the credit card to engage in another romantic relationship, then a court will be more likely to award total responsibility for that debt to the at-fault spouse. Otherwise, both parties will generally need to share the burden of making regular payments until the debt is absolved.
Pre-Marital Debts Remain the Responsibility of the Original Debtor
The requirement of equitable division only applies to marital assets and debts, or debts incurred by either party during the course of the marriage. This means that any debts incurred before the marriage took place will generally remain the sole responsibility of the person who took out the loan or credit card to pay off after divorce. This is why it is so important to identify and categorize all assets and debts during divorce. By carefully identifying all debts, including when they were incurred, one spouse can avoid having to pay off credit card debt that the other party incurred before the marriage.
Reach Out to a Fort Lauderdale Property Division Lawyer for Help
If your spouse incurred a lot of credit card debt during your marriage and you have questions about how responsibility for paying off that debt will be divided in the event of divorce, feel free to call Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for help. You can set up a consultation with a member of our legal team by calling 954-945-7591, or by completing one of our online contact forms. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.