No Florida resident plans for their marriage to end in divorce. Newly-weds are rarely talking about how to handle things like credit card debt in their hypothetical divorce.
Regardless, credit card debt comes up in a lot of Florida divorces. Most aspects of your finances are combined when you get married and that can include credit card debt.
Is credit card debt considered joint debt?
It depends a lot on how the debt was acquired and whose name is on the credit card. If the credit card is strictly in your spouse’s name, then it is their debt and their debt alone.
If both spouses are listed as owners on the account, then the debt belongs to both individuals regardless of who wracked up the debt. You’re not liable for the debt if you’re just an authorized user on the account.
How your spouse’s credit card debt can impact you
If your spouse has credit card debt, the creditors could go after joint assets to settle the debt. This could include joint savings or credit accounts or even property assets.
There are always arguments to be made during the divorce proceedings. Your spouse may claim that even though the credit card is solely in their name, they spent it on things that benefited the marriage.
For example, say your spouse wracked up credit card debt paying for home repairs that you both agreed to or similar expenses. The court could order that you help pay down some of that debt since you also benefited from it.
Protecting yourself during divorce
It’s important to close any joint accounts with your ex as soon as the divorce starts. You’ll also want to remove your name as an authorized user on any of the cards and monitor your credit report.
Generally, your spouse can’t settle them with their credit card debt. But it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself and know your rights as you go through with the divorce.