Most divorcing couples in Texas worry a lot about the division of assets. Many of them will forget that their debts will be divided, too. One of the biggest shared debts married couples accumulate is credit card debt. Typically, only a mortgage is larger. Texas is a state that uses community law when it comes to divorces. That means that both parties in the divorce can be held responsible for debts.
Deciding who’s responsible
Every state has laws about how debts will be divided during a divorce. Typically, the process of teasing out who is responsible for what can be complicated. Each lawyer will attempt to negotiate their client’s share down. No matter what the letter of the state law is, the judge will have some leeway in assigning responsibility. They can even hold people responsible for debt that wasn’t accrued in their name.
There are a few different reasons for this. Joint credit card accounts mean that each spouse is in the contract for the credit card. They each have control over the account. A joint credit card account actually can’t be closed unless both parties agree to that.
In a marriage, though, sometimes couples will authorize each other to use their personal cards. Although, technically, the debt on such a card only belongs to one person, in some cases, these cards are used for shared expenses. A judge may, then, order someone to pay debt that’s not theirs.
People can find ways to protect themselves financially before filing for divorce. One of the best ways is to enter into a prenuptial agreement before marrying. Another is to add spending limits or even remove authorized users from your accounts. It’s a good idea to seek advice from an experienced lawyer before making any of these moves.