What’s in your wallet? Is it a bunch of credit cards carrying large balances? Can the same be said for your spouse? If so, allocating responsibility for paying down those balances will be a challenging issue in your New York divorce.
The principle of equitable division in New York divorces applies not only to marital assets but marital debts as well. As you and your divorce attorney take stock of those assets and liabilities, you will not only need to get a clear picture of the extent of the existing credit card debt, but you must also determine who is legally responsible n the account for each credit card.
Divorcing couples in New York are free to reach their own agreements as to who will be responsible for paying down credit card debts. However, for cards that are in both spouses’ names or that are co-signed by one spouse, your credit card company will not care about your agreement with your spouse nor will they be bound by it.
If the balance on a jointly held or co-signed card goes unpaid, the card company can seek payment from either spouse on the account no matter what agreement is reached between the spouses.
Even when a judge makes an equitable distribution of marital debts and assigns credit card balances between the parties, the judge is powerless to relieve the other spouse from liability to the credit card company on a card that was held in the names of both spouses.
However, when a spouse who is allocated responsibility for a joint credit card debt fails to make payments as agreed or directed, the other spouse can seek reimbursement or damages from the delinquent spouse for any payments they have to make.
If you have questions or concerns regarding credit card debt, property division or any other matters pertaining to divorce, please give New York divorce and family law attorney Daniel Clement a call at (212) 683-9551 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.