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Who is responsible for credit card debt amid divorce?

Credit card debt can be challenging to split, especially during divorce. How you split your debt can depend on numerous factors. Those factors can include how you set up your credit card accounts, who accumulated the debt, whose responsibility it is to repay the debt and other matters specific to your situation.

Credit card debt and community property laws

Since Texas is a community property state, any debt you or your spouse accumulated during your marriage can be shared debt – and that can include credit card debt. That means you and your spouse can be equally liable for any:

  • Credit card debt that is in your name
  • Credit card debt you cosigned for (even if you don’t jointly own it)
  • Credit card debt your spouse incurred during your marriage (regardless of if you cosigned or had your name on the account)

However, these rules can come with exceptions. For example, a judge could require you to pay down credit card debt in your spouse’s name. However, that can depend on what they used the credit card for. The same rule can apply to your spouse. Even if the credit card debt is in your name only, they could be responsible for it if a judge assigns the debt to them.

Credit card companies can complicate things

While judges can assign credit card debts, it typically doesn’t change who owes the debt to your credit card company. If your spouse doesn’t pay the debt they accumulated on your card, your credit card company may resort to collection efforts if you aren’t making the required monthly payments. At the same time, there are some cases where you can transfer debt your spouse accumulated on your card onto their card. Some credit card companies allow customers to transfer balances from one card to another, even if the other card isn’t in your name. However, this usually only works when both parties agree to this type of transaction.

The process can be ongoing

Dividing credit card debt can create additional challenges during your divorce. While courts can approve debt repayment agreements, parties may request adjustments to previous negotiations amid life changes and other significant events. There are additional steps you can take to protect your finances during renegotiations and ensure your considerations are still taken into account.