When it becomes time to divide assets and debts in a Texas divorce, many divorcing spouses are in for a bit of a shock. Generally speaking, debts – like assets – are community property in Texas. This means that debts acquired during the marriage are the legal responsibility of both spouses, no matter who actually incurred the debt.
If your name is on a credit card (as a secondary cardholder, for example), a judge can order you to be responsible for repaying half the balance on the credit card, even if you never used it yourself. Part of the reason is that Texas family law assumes that debt incurred during the court of the marriage benefited the marriage. For example, you may never have used the card yourself, but your spouse may have used the card to purchase airline tickets for a family vacation, materials for a home improvement project, or groceries. Thus, even though you personally never used the credit card with your name on it, your husband used the credit card account to buy things that benefited you both. Thus, a family court judge will be likely to assign you the responsibility of paying off half the debt.
The converse may also be true. If your divorce attorney can prove that every purchase made with the credit card was for your spouse’s benefit alone, then your divorce lawyer may be able to persuade the judge that your spouse should be solely responsible for repaying the debt. Examples of purchases made for the sole benefit of your spouse might include a solo vacation, repairs to a house your spouse owned before the marriage, purchases to further an extramarital affair, and so forth.
This is why your divorce lawyer asks so many questions about your household finances, assets, and debts. These details can become extremely important, especially if you accumulated a lot of debt during the marriage.
The Office of the Attorney General of Texas publishes lots of information about credit card debt, debt counseling, and identity protection on its website, at: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/credit_cards.shtml.
Contact Attorney Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Credit Card Debt in a Divorce
Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas attorney offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation. Mr. Buchanan places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about credit card debt in a divorce, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.