If my wife and I divorce, do I have to pay for her credit card debts?

Asked on June 10, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The previous answer is correct.  If either of you have already filed, you should serve on her a demand for production of documents, requiring her to give you all copies of credit card statements going back to the begining of the marriage.  That way you can determine the balance on the cards going into the marriage--because that balance is her own obligation.

Best of luck.  If you are in Ventura County, I would love to represent you.  Feel free to contact me.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage.  Community property also includes income during marriage and debts incurred during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Separate property includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends and debts incurred before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

If your wife's credit card debts were incurred during marriage, they are community property.  If your wife does not pay, creditors will come after you for those debts.  In your divorce decree, you can agree to an unequal division of the community property; for example, your wife could agree to pay all of her credit card debts.

If the credit card debts were incurred before marriage, they are your wife's separate property and you are not liable for her pre-marriage debts.

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