Spouse's CC Debt

Spouse’s CC Debt: Am I Liable?

When an item is purchased with a credit card, who is responsible for that debt?

The answer to that question depends on who is listed on the card used to make that purchase. If both spouses are listed as authorized users on a credit card or have a joint account, they may both be liable for charges whether they authorized them or not.

Use Your Own Credit Card to Pay for a Bail Bond

Bail bondsmen will usually accept credit cards as payment for bail bonds. However, it may be in your best interest to use your own credit card to make the payment. Using a joint card may alert your spouse to the fact that you have been taken into custody. Second, he or she may be liable for paying off that debt with you. The good news is that credit card payments generally clear in minutes, which means that you can get your bond and be released from custody within hours.

Your Relationship Status

When a credit card company issues you a line of credit, it doesn’t care whether you are married or single. All that company cares about is that the loan is repaid according to the terms that you agreed to. If you and your spouse decide to get a credit card together, both of you are going to be liable for that debt. This is true even if you got a divorce and the divorce decree said that he or she was responsible for paying off the debt. Therefore, it is in your best interest to know ahead of time whether you could afford to repay any debts accrued on a joint card.

You May Be Liable If Your Spouse Files for Bankruptcy 

If your spouse files for personal bankruptcy protection, it may allow him or her to discharge his or her personal debts. In fact, it may allow for the discharge of debts that you and your spouse hold jointly. However, this generally means that you will be responsible for paying off that debt on your own. In such a scenario, it may be necessary to either file for bankruptcy yourself or come to an arrangement with your significant other to get repaid for his or her portion of the debt.

Is Your Name on the Credit Card?

Any scenario in which you are liable for debt accrued by your spouse assumes that your name is on that debt as well. If your spouse has a credit card in his or her name only, you are generally not responsible for that debt. You generally have no obligation to repay it regardless of your marital status either now or in the future. While you may volunteer to pay off some or all of that debt, the agreement may not be binding unless put into writing and entered into the public record.

What Happens if a Debt Is Assigned to You By a Judge?

Even if a judge assigns a debt to you in a divorce or in any other proceeding, you are technically not liable for it. As long as you aren’t on the account in question, there isn’t much that a creditor could do to hold you personally liable. However, it is possible that your spouse comes after you in family court for failing to live up to the terms of that order.

A credit card is an unsecured loan agreement between the credit card company and the borrower or borrowers listed on the account. Therefore, there is little a court can do to change the terms of the legal contract that has already been entered into. This means that you need to be ready to pay any debt accrued on a joint card or refrain from cosigning on a credit card with your spouse.

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