Who is responsible for credit card debt in a California divorce?

Handling credit card debt can be difficult enough on its own, but managing one's debts during a divorce can be quite the formidable task. As many Orange County residents have likely found out in their own divorces, property division is much more than just dividing marital property from non-marital property. In addition to dividing certain financial assets, property division also involves dividing up debts.

One such debt is the consumer debt associated with credit cards. How is credit card debt divided in a California divorce? The answer is - as it is with many divorce legal issues - it depends. It's important to know that, while couples can come to an agreement on their own, the actual credit card companies do not have to honor that agreement. In other words, the creditors can often come after both spouses even after one spouse agrees to be responsible for the debt.

Some spouses or domestic partners may assume that they can simply add up their credit card debts, divide the amount in half and then each spouse agrees to pay that half on their own. While this could potentially work for some spouses, again, it is important to remember that the credit card companies do not have to follow that agreement. For their part, the creditors are concerned with whose name is on the card and any other names that might be on the contract, such as the name of a spouse or partner.

Property division can be not only confusing, but also emotionally draining as couples prepare to move into a new chapter of their lives. Consulting with a California family lawyer can be helpful to a spouse who wants to know more about the division of assets and debts from their marriage.