If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this one rule, lenders don't give a damn about what your judgment for dissolution says.
A marital dissolution judgment addresses, among other things, division of both the assets and debts accrued during the marriage. This includes credit card debt. However credit card companies, and other third parties not a party to the action are not bound by the judgment.
Unless you are careful right from the moment you decide to separate, you can end up being liable for credit card debt incurred by your ex. It is best if divorcing couples exit the marriage without any joint debt.
When divorce is anticipated, make every effort to close any joint accounts, paying off the existing debt or allocating it to new credit card accounts - one for each of the responsible spouses.
If you rely instead on a divorce degree that allocates a portion of the debt to your ex, but both names stay on the account, creditors can still come after you for any unpaid debts if you ex fails to make payments or declares bankruptcy. These debts become yours. In addition, your ex's late or missed payments will damage your credit record.
Some credit cards are in one spouse's name, with the other listed as an authorized user. Authorized users cannot be held liable for charges on this type of account. If you are the owner of the account, immediately request that your spouse be removed as an authorized user. If you are the user, ask to have you name removed from the account.
The law surrounding divorce and credit card debt can be complicated and the facts of each case are unique. You should consult with an experienced divorce and bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options prior to jumping right into an action for marital dissolution.
The Law Offices of James V. Sansone offers a full range of family law and bankruptcy legal services. We are located in Santa Rosa, California and serve clients throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County, and Lake County, including Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, and Kelseyville.