Credit Accounts and Divorce

There are two types of credit accounts that people can open: joint accounts and individual accounts. The type of account that married individuals open can have a major effect on who has to pay back the debts in the case that divorce occurs. First, however, it is important to provide basic information on both types of accounts.

When a married couple opens a joint credit account, for example for a credit card, then both of the spouses’ credit history and income/assets are considered when the creditor is deciding whether or not to grant the credit. Should the spouses be granted credit, both spouses are responsible for paying back the debt associated with the account.

When a married individual opens an individual credit account, however, the opposite happens. Only that individual’s, and not his or her spouse’s, credit history and income/assets are considered. As a result, only the spouse opening the individual account is responsible for paying back any debt linked to the account.

When Divorce Comes into the Picture

When people decide to get divorced, the type of credit account affects which spouse has to pay back the debt. If the debt is for an individual account, then the spouse who opened the account has to pay back the debt. For a joint account, however, both spouses are responsible for paying back the debt. Even if the spouses agree that one of them will pay back the debt, the creditor can claim money from the other spouse, as the creditor was never a party to the divorce agreement that the spouses signed. As far as the creditor is concerned, the debt would still be part of a joint account.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you are going to get divorced, debts are only one concern. The legal requirements can be a serious burden. To get the legal assistance that you need, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 760-722-7646.

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