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How to Divide Credit Card Debt During a Divorce

Divorce is full of emotions, life changes, and the division of assets. Along with dividing all the property and earnings you accumulated over the years you were married, you must also divide debt.

In the state of California, debt is considered community property if it was incurred during the marriage. Even if your partner charges a credit card to the max without your knowledge, you are still responsible for paying off the debt.

Credit Card Debt Is Community Property

You can assume you will be responsible for debt accrued on a joint credit card. If both names are on the account, the creditor will pursue you and your partner until the debt is paid off. In a lot of cases, one partner racks up charges on a joint credit card without the other’s knowledge. Unfortunately, your name is on the account, and the debt is half yours.

If your partner has a credit card without your name, the items purchased using the credit card are evaluated. For example, if the partner bought a motorcycle with a secret credit card and kept it at another house without your knowledge, the judge may rule that your partner is solely responsible for that debt.

But if your partner used the credit card to pay for household expenses, joint vacations, and a shared car, you are both responsible for the debt regardless of whose name is on the account.

Credit Card Debt on Your Account

In some cases, your name may be the sole name on the account, and your partner used your credit card to purchase large items. The credit card company does not care about divorce and who is liable for paying which debts. They will come after the person’s name on the account.

The best bet is to bring the credit card debt into question during divorce proceedings and get it paid off during the settlement stages so that a collector does not come after you for a debt you did not incur.

Call a Lawyer for Help

Divorce can be tricky. Miles & Hatcher, LLP, can help you sort through community property and how to divide debt. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our experts: (909) 481-4080.

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