CanI be released from joint credit card debt?

Moved out of my home 2 months ago; husband has been unemployed for as many years. He has been running up credit cards (2). Some of it is for bills but I believe quite a bit of it is for alcohol and cigarettes. If he agrees to release me from any responsibility, can the credit card company remove my name from the account? I have not charged anything to these accounts.

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, it's not up to your husband alone. The credit card agreement is a contract among all the parties--you, your husband, and the credit card company. That means that all parties, including the credit card issuer, must agree to any changes--including releasing a party from the account. The credit card company has no reason to do that--if they release you, they reduce their odds of being repaid, by removing a person against whom they would have recourse (i.e. if you're on the account, they could look to you for payment; even sue you if necessary). There is nothing in it for the credit card issuer, and so no reason why they would do this. If you are no longer living with your husband, and are looking to separate financial responsibility, you may wish to consider divorce; in a divorce, it may be possible to get your spouse to take full responsibility for debt he created or incurred.


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