Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP
Menlo Park
San Ramon

Don't leave your marriage with an unfair debt burden

Divorce is a complex process that will require you to make financial adjustments and changes in various areas of your life. You understand the importance of secure a fair property division order, which is why you are fighting for your fair share of all marital assets. During this process, you would be wise not to overlook the important issue of credit card debt.

Most Americans have credit cards. In fact, most people use cards for everything from weekly grocery purchases to emergency medical expenses. Because of the dependence on credit cards, most people also have credit card debt as well. Who will have to pay this debt if you and your spouse divorce? It is critical that you take steps to ensure you do not emerge from the divorce process with an unfair debt burden.

Who has to pay?

Unfortunately, creditors do not really care about your divorce. They are only concerned with receiving payment. You are responsible for any debt that has your name on it, including credit card debt. California is a community property state, which means that any debt you acquire after marriage and before the date of separation is community property. Both spouses equally share liability for these balances.

However, every situation and divorce is different. Sometimes, courts will factor in things like the length of the marriage and how the spouses used the items purchased on credit. The following facts may help you understand credit card debt and protecting your future financial interests:

  • Debts in one spouse's name acquired before marriage is not community property – both spouses are not equally liable.
  • A judge may decide a spouse has to help pay for certain debts, even if it is not in his or her name, if that spouse used or enjoyed the items bought.
  • A couple may negotiate a reasonable final settlement that includes how they will share marital debt.

Whether you will negotiate your property division order or a judge will make this decision on your behalf, you may find it beneficial to speak with an experienced lawyer about how you can shield yourself from unfair or unreasonable financial obligations. 

You don't have to fight alone 

You do not have to fight for your financial future alone. By working with an experienced family law professional, you can have the counsel you need to effectively navigate the divorce process and secure terms that allow you to have a strong and stable future.

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