There are many debtors who wonder whether or not their wife’s credit card debt is their responsibility. According to the law, if you don’t sign the card, you aren’t responsible for the debt as it is not in your name. But under some specific circumstances, you might be held responsible for the debts of your spouse. But whether or not you will be held liable will depend on a few factors like where you live, whether or not it’s a joint credit card, whether or not you’re the cosigner and whether or not you were assigned the debt in a divorce proceeding. You may read on the concerns of this article to know more on how to pay down debts in different situations like the possibilities of being liable for a debt which was actually your spouse’s.
Common law states and your liability
Majority of the states, which are also known as common law states, follow common law rules while determining who is actually liable for a debt amount in a marriage. If you’re residing in a common law state, you are actually liable for the credit card debt only when the credit card is in your name. If the card is in your spouse’s name, you won’t typically be responsible for the debt amount. On the other hand, in case you jointly owe some kind of assets, then the credit card company might as well go after the spouse’s portion of that property. If the debt is for a joint credit card that carries both your names, both you and your spouse will be responsible for it. Even if you are a cosigner on the credit card of your spouse, you will still be on the hook.
A look into the other rules for community property states
There are some other states that are called the community property states and they follow the community property rules instead of the common law when it comes to determining which spouse is liable for a specific debt amount. But when you reside in a community property state, you will be responsible on the hook for any debt that you cosign for. But in addition, the debts that were incurred by both you and your spouse during the wedding, irrespective of whose name is on it, are referred to be community debts and both spouses will be equally responsible for the debts. So, this implies that if the card was in your spouse’s name, you can still be responsible for it.
Different states have different other factors that might have some additional rules with respect to whether or not an obligation will be considered a community debt. So, if the debt was incurred for something that proved to be beneficial for your marriage, this will most likely be considered as a community debt. But on the other hand, if it was a purchase that benefited only a single spouse, there is more possibility of it for not being considered as community debt. Names of some community property states include California, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington. Check your state before taking any decision about the amount owed on your credit cards.
Therefore, when you’re wondering about the possibilities of being responsible for your spouse’s debt, you can take into account the facts mentioned above. Check your state laws and then know the steps that you need to take for the debts of your spouse.