If my wife filed for divorce and then got credit cards/loans in her name and ran them up, do I pay?

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If my wife filed for divorce and then got credit cards/loans in her name and ran them up, do I pay?

My wife filed for divorce, moved out, and then took out loans and got her own credit cards in order to help her get by. Am I responsible for paying these loans and credit cards?

Asked on March 28, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although TX is a community property state, the general rule is that debt goes to the person who is responsible for that debt.  There are 2 ways to be responsible for a debt: directly or indirectly.

Direct Debt:  When you sign a contract (e.g. a financing agreement) that obligates you to pay money to a creditor, you become directly responsible for that debt.  If your soon-to-be-ex didn’t sign the papers, you (and only you) are directly responsible for that debt.

Indirect Debt:  A person is personally liable for the acts of their spouse only if: (1) the spouse acts as an agent for the person ( i.e. you gave them the authority to take on that debt on your behalf); or (2) the spouse incurs a debt for "necessaries".  Necessaries include food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and child expenses.

So depending on exactly what your spouse used the cards to purchase, you may or may not be held liable for repayment (although it sounds as though as least some of the expenses were incurred so that she could "get by"; that sounds like necessary expenses).


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