The law is complicated, but the answer to this question is not. If you are a married individual and your spouse owes money on credit cards or loans, then yes, you are responsible for any debt incurred by them. This means that even if they die before paying off their debts in full (or at all), you will be held liable for repaying it yourself as well as any expenses such as legal fees from collection agencies etcetera.

The “am i responsible for my spouse’s credit card debt” is a question that many people may have. The answer is yes, you are responsible for your spouse’s debt.

For most individuals, getting married is a big step. It denotes a number of important changes in your life, including financial ones. While you are enjoying yourself, you may be wondering what precisely marriage implies for your financial future. Do you now owe them money? What debts, such as credit card debt and student loan debt, are you responsible for? How does your credit score change?

These concerns might become challenging. The quick answer is that it depends on where you reside among other things. Your duty for your spouse’s debt might significantly change as a result of divorce, death, joint accounts, and legal processes.

Let’s examine the challenges associated with sharing debt and assets with a spouse.

Related: Basics of personal finance

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Responsibility for Credit Card Debt in Common Law States

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Most American states follow common law. Simply said, even if you’re married, the property you obtain is yours. The property only belongs to one person unless it is registered in both of their names. This policy probably applies to you since there are 41 common law states.

Common law dictates that unless both of your names are on an asset, one spouse owns it when it comes to money and marriage. That includes material possessions like homes, cars, and even credit cards. Your spouse is the only owner of any credit card that bears their name. As a result, they are solely responsible for the credit card debt.

To own any portion of the debt, you would have to sign up as a joint account holder. If you co-signed for the account, you can also be responsible for that debt. Even if your spouse added you as an authorized user, the credit card is still wholly in their name and not yours, so you are not liable for paying any connected obligations.

Ridofranz/Istockphoto is credit for the image.

Spouse’s Responsibility in States with Community Law

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Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are the nine states that follow community property law rather than common law. In these states, both spouses own any property acquired after a marriage. The assets belong to both of you regardless of who is the account or property’s owner. Naturally, there are several exceptions to this rule. These consist of:

  • One spouse bought the property alone, and their name is the only one stated on the deed;
  • Only one spouse received the gift of the property;
  • One spouse alone received the inheritance throughout the marriage;
  • a will or trust money was used by only one spouse to purchase property;
  • Before the marriage, the property was purchased;
  • While the couples were officially divorced and lived apart, the property was bought.

DepositPhotos.com, source of the image.

Rules for Community Property State Debt

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Your partner is the lone owner of the credit card in a common law state. However, if they get a credit card when you are married, the debt now belongs to both of you since your state is a community property state. There is one exception: If you and your spouse divorce before they start building up the debt in issue, you may not be held accountable. This is true regardless of who may have started the account or incurred the debt.

However, because every circumstance is unique, if it can be shown that the debt was acquired to further the marriage, the state can hold you accountable for it.

It’s important to remember that any debts you have from before the marriage, such as a vehicle loan, will solely belong to you. However, if you receive another automobile loan after getting married, you and your spouse now jointly owe that debt.

Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos.

Will My Credit Score Be Affected by My Partner’s Debt?

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Here, you may exhale easily. Your credit score won’t be impacted by your partner’s debt, even in states with community property laws. If a person’s credit history has some ups and downs, that credit history is the only one that exists.

However, if you create a joint account after getting married, things alter. Before creating that joint bank account, it’s a good idea to make sure you feel confidence in your spouse’s financial situation (and accountability). This is because the account is half yours and will show up in your credit history.

If you’re worried, you may always keep your bank accounts separate to safeguard your credit rating. However, even common law states may end up seeing assets like bank and savings accounts as joint property in the event of a divorce, and community property states almost certainly will.

cnythzi, author of the image

What Will Happen If We Split Up Or Get Married?

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How much would a divorce cost me may be one of the first inquiries, but “what happens to our debt?” is asked quite shortly after that. Once again, it varies. Debt is more complicated than just cutting things in half. For instance, if you merely have a credit card in your name, the full amount is still your responsibility.

However, if you have a shared credit card, most states would consider that debt to be a joint obligation in the event of a divorce or separation, making both of you liable for it. It makes no difference who was accruing debt or making payments; the law will see it as a shared responsibility.

However, there are many more factors to take into account when going through a divorce. If you own a home, you may want to think about selling it and dividing the proceeds. It might be challenging to sort out a mortgage debt if one of you is moving out. For instance, the partner who is remaining in the house could need to buy out the spouse who is leaving.

DepositPhotos.com, source of the image.

Investments Following a Split

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If you invested together as a pair when you were married, everything gets considerably more challenging. In addition to the financial complexity of investments, there are also legal and tax duties. If you invested jointly, you may want to consider liquidating those holdings and splitting the profits after you get divorced.

If you must choose this approach, bear in mind that many investments of that kind have tax implications. You and your spouse may need to deal with fees and taxes if you withdraw from certain assets early or even be paid out for investments.

These forms of investments may be divided. For instance, if it were stock, you might allocate the shares to each partner. But if one partner is a more active investor than the other, things may become complicated.

Of course, the courts could provide you with a response to this. The court may decide which spouse is responsible for which debt if your divorce is challenged. It won’t really matter who started the account in such situation. Your ex-partner may sue you if you don’t pay the debt that has been allocated to you. In addition, regardless of whether the court cancels any of your partner’s debt, you could be required to manage some of it if the court so directs.

Finally, it does happen that a spouse dies away. Again, you will likely be responsible for the debt if you have joint accounts. You could now have to manage that financial load on your own if you co-signed anything or if your name is on the documents. Depending on the state you reside in and the kind of assets you and your partner held, assets and property may sometimes assist you pay off that form of debt.

twinsterphoto/istockphoto is the source of the image.

The Lesson

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Much when things are going well financially, marriage may make things even more difficult. Discovering if you live in a common law or community property state can help you determine what your state’s laws are regarding married couples’ property rights.

After that, you may want to think about keeping your accounts separate or integrated. Avoid actions like co-signing loans or opening joint accounts if you have any reservations.

Instead, you might open a money management account before to getting married to ensure that all of your assets remain yours alone even after you marry. Your financial worries before getting married may be reduced if you have some money you handle on your own.

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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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AlertMe

If you are married, is it your responsibility to pay off your spouse’s debt? The answer depends on where you live. In Ohio, if one person in a marriage has a debt and the other does not, the non-debtor spouse is not responsible for that debt. Reference: am i responsible for my spouse’s debt in ohio.

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