GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) - In the state of Michigan, the basic idea of dividing marital estates is a 50-50 split. However, it is possible that some assets and some liabilities can be treated as belonging only to one spouse. Credit card debt is one of these.
Who's name is on the credit card?
In the case of credit cards, many women think that if the credit card is not is their name they have no liability for the debt. This may, or may not be true. If one spouse used a credit card to buy things for everyone's use, such as food, prescriptions, clothing and gasoline, the other spouse may be equally liable for that debt even though his or her name is not on the card.
How the Judge decides what is fair?
If a judge is determining who is to pay a credit card debt, the criteria used is what is fair. Most of the time that will be the person whose name is on the card and incurred the charges, but women should be aware that the judge has the discretion to decide that it may be fair to have the other spouse pay the part or all of the charges.
Who makes the payment?
Family court aside, when you use your credit card you are agreeing to pay for the charges. That is the contract you have entered into with the credit card company. A family court judge cannot change that obligation so even if the judge decides that one spouse should pay the bill, if that payment is not made the person whose name is on the card is legally obligated to make the payment. It is important to understand this because if you have incurred credit card debt in your name and the judge assigns this debt to your husband you could still end up paying if your spouse does not make the payments. The credit card company does not care that you have divorced and the debt was assigned to your spouse.
Credit card debt is not the only debt treated this way by the court. All debts are divided with fairness in mind when dividing marital estates.
If you have questions about divorce, DAWN- Attorney's for Women can help. Contact them here.
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.
Radiothon Thursday, December 12th and Friday, December 13th
One of Grand Rapids newest draws to visitors and locals alike, The Downtown Market, is buzzing with holiday cheer! Go inside the market and browse our photo gallery!
What is your favorite holiday book? Maranda asks several West Michigan librarians about their top choice.