Am I Responsible For My Wife’s Credit Card Debt In A Divorce?

wife credit card debtQuestion:

My wife racked up excessive credit card debt before we married and is now trying to make me pay off those cards that are in her name only as part of our divorce settlement.

My name is not on those credit cards, and I have no direct line of credit.

Will a judge make me pay for credit card debt that is in my wife’s name only and the majority of which was accumulated before we married?

Answer:

I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce on these matters. However, I can give you general divorce information based on Indiana’s divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

In general, when parties are going through a divorce, the court must divide all of the property, which includes assets and debts, of the parties. The property includes assets and debts that were owned by either spouse before the marriage, such as your wife’s credit card debt, and that were acquired by either spouse in his or her own right after the marriage and before final separation of the parties. This also includes property that was acquired by joint efforts from you and your wife.

Therefore, even though the majority of your wife’s credit card debt was incurred before you even met and married, it is still considered marital property for the court to divide between you and your wife.

Where I practice, regarding how the judge will divide your wife’s credit card debt between the two of you, the court shall presume that an equal division of your wife’s credit debt between the parties is just and reasonable.

Therefore, there is a presumption by the court that all marital property, assets and debts, shall be split equally (50/50) between the parties. In other words, the court will presume that you should split the credit card debt equally. However, this presumption of an equal split may be rebutted if you present relevant evidence.

Divorce Tips For Men:

How To Divorce With Credit Card Debt

There are several factors in my state for the court to consider when arguing that an equal division is not just and reasonable:

1) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the contribution was income producing;

2) The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse: (A) before the marriage; or (B) through inheritance or gift;

3) The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence or the right to dwell in the family residence for such periods as the court considers just to the spouse having custody of any children;

4) The conduct of the parties during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property;

5) The earnings or earning ability of the parties as related to: (A) a final division of property; and (B) a final determination of the property rights of the parties.

When making your argument that the presumption of splitting your wife’s credit card debt equally, you should state to the court what you mention above, which is the fact that more than half of this debt was incurred before you met and were married.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a men’s divorce lawyer.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Indiana Divorce Lawyer Rachael S. Cunningham, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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