You may not be too concerned about your husband’s high balance on his credit cards. After all, it’s his debt, right? Wrong! Once you say “I do,” you both share not only assets, ut debts as well. While he may be the one paying his credit cards while you’re married, that all could change in the event of a divorce.

New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that in a divorce, assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily 50/50. This same law applies to debt that either party has on credit cards and personal loans. While the credit card may be in your husband’s name only, you could be on the hook for making the monthly payments in a divorce.

Credit card debt during the marriage is considered marital debt, even if only one person makes the purchases. So who exactly pays what when it comes to debts in a New York divorce? Read on to see how debts are distributed.

Splitting the Debt

Ideally, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will come to an agreement on your own. You may choose to split the debt 50/50 or give one person a significant asset in exchange for taking on most or all of the debt. You will need to outline the terms in a settlement agreement and have the court approve and issue a final judgment.

If you both cannot agree on a solution, then the court will decide. The judge will make a decision based on income and assets.

Enforcement of Payment

Once a judgment has been issued, you and/or your spouse now need to make the payments on the accounts. If you alone are responsible for making a payment to your individual credit card account, your spouse cannot be forced to make payments if you refuse to do so.

However, in the case of joint credit card accounts, a non-payment will affect both of you. Even if your spouse was ordered to pay it, the account is still in your name, and your credit score can be affected as a result. This means that you may still have to make payments on the account if you want to protect your credit, even if your spouse was the one ordered to make the payment. In the meantime, request enforcement help from the state court.

Work with an Experienced Brooklyn Divorce Lawyer

In a divorce, you are likely most concerned about assets. However, if your ex-spouse has debts, you should be concerned about those as well, as you may be responsible for them. Learn more about New York debt laws in a divorce by contacting Brooklyn divorce lawyer Theodore Alatsas ESQ. He can help you navigate the murky waters of asset and debt division after divorce. Contact our office at (718) 233-2903 for a free consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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