Coloradans will be happy to hear that their state is not one in which creditors can pursue someone for their ex-spouse’s debts. The division of assets during a divorce differs according to state law, and in Colorado, this means that no one has to pay their ex’s credit card bills.
One woman wrote into an advice columnist with a story: a relative of hers is going through a divorce, and she discovered her husband had maxed out two credit cards. The husband spent until he hit their limits at $7,000 and $15,000 respectively, and then hid any evidence of this from his wife. Unfortunately, if she lives in a community property state, she may have to pay some of this debt even if she wasn’t a joint account holder. She will have to prove that her husband did not spend the money in any way that benefited her.
The state laws for marital property can be divided into two groups: community and non-community. Non-community property states are called equitable division or marital property states. In community property states, someone could be held responsible for an ex-spouse’s credit card debt, even if only one name was on the card.
In a divorce, assets and liabilities are divvied up between the two spouses by a judge. Anyone who is going through the divorce process should run a credit check on themselves. It may be a good idea to close any joint savings or credit card accounts. Even if the debt is ruled to be entirely one party’s liability, the other party may still get harassing phone calls from collection agencies. Division of property in divorce should be equitable and fair to all parties. It’s important to make sure that you have a good representation in court, so that the divorce can end as well as it can for everybody involved.
Source: Fox Business, “Is Wife Liable for Ex’s Card Debt?”, Sally Herigstad, May 07, 2013