Who pays the debt for the gift that I bought my wife?

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

My wife and I are going through a divorce. A few years ago, I set up an account and bought my wife a computer using her social security number as a surprise.

She now says she will press charges against me if I cannot get the debt removed from her credit and placed on mine.

Is there a way to remove the debt from one social security number and transfer it to another?

Answer:

In regards to your first question, under Texas law, the characterization of a debt usually depends on when the debt was incurred. Generally, debts incurred during the marriage are presumed to be community debts, however, debts incurred prior to marriage are considered to be solely a liability of the party who in incurred such debt.

However, this presumption that the debt is a community liability can be rebutted by establishing that the lender agreed to look solely to the separate estate of the borrowing spouse when the debt was incurred.

In your situation the purchase of the computer on credit would be looked at by the court as a community debt, meaning that the community would be responsible for the debt and not solely you or your wife, even though the debt was incurred by using her social security number alone to establish the line of credit.

Upon divorce, the court would likely allocate one-half of the amount of the debt to each of you, however, you can agree to take on the debt alone and reduce such agreement to writing whereby upon divorce you agree to solely be responsible for the debt.

Another option would be for you to open a credit card in your name and transfer the balance of the computer account on to it once you take on the debt, this way upon divorce her name would no longer remain tied to the debt on the account.

Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.

 

Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.  

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