Credit card debt and divorce: who pays?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Family Law

When a couple resolves to end their marriage through divorce, one of the major sources of dispute can be credit card debt. Who should pay off the balance? What if one spouse didn’t know about the existence of the credit card in the first place? 

Questions regarding credit card debt, just like any other debt, largely depend on a number of factors such as the state’s property division laws and who applied for the card among other factors. 

Understanding Florida property division laws

In the eyes of the divorce court, every debt and asset acquired during the marriage is collectively known as marital property. Thus, marital debt is subject to the same division rule as marital property. And in the Sunshine State, this means equitable division

Dividing credit card debts during divorce

Credit card debt, however, can be complicated. When splitting credit card debt, the court must seek answers to certain questions. Here are some of these questions:

Is the card jointly held by both spouses? 

If the card is in both spouses’ names, then they are legally responsible for the debt. In this case, the debt will be split equitably as long as both parties agree that the card was used to make purchases that advanced the household’s common interests like paying for utility bills, medical care and groceries. 

If, however, one spouse used the card to finance personal causes like gambling or an affair, then the court might pass on the resulting debt to them. 

Is the card in one spouse’s name? 

If one spouse signed a contract with the credit card company, then they would be legally responsible for the debt. However, if they used the card to finance household interests, then the judge may divide the debt equitably. 

Credit card debt can be a contentious subject when dissolving a marriage. Understanding Florida property division laws can help you protect your interests and ensure that the resulting credit card debt is fairly handled during the divorce.