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Credit Card Debt and Responsibility

If a credit card is in one person’s name, is only that person responsible for the debt?

Amy Wechsler’s Answer:

Not necessarily. If the credit card was used to pay expenses for the family that are consistent with how the parties were living when the marriage was intact, then they are likely to be considered marital debts. Charges for children’s clothing, lessons or activities, even though on one person’s card, will be considered marital expenses to which both parties should contribute. If the card holder bought clothes for himself, or paid for activities not shared by the other party, these may be considered marital debts. An exception would be if the cardholder had an affair and charged meals, hotels or gifts to a boyfriend or girlfriend. These are “non-marital” purposes, and the portion of the bill used for those activities should be the cardholder’s responsibility. Even though the credit card companies can seek payment only from the card holder, on divorce, the court can order ways in which the other party will share the debt.

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