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credit card debt

Credit card debt often plays a significant role in divorce—both as a factor in the cause of the divorce and as an obstacle to dissolving the marriage, as responsibility for the debt must be agreed to by the divorcing spouses or determined by the court.

If the spouses live in a community property state (as opposed to a common law property/equitable distribution state) and the credit card was applied for and issued to only one of the spouses, the bank may only be able to seek payment from the spouse in whose name the card was issued and the credit was extended—but in resolving the divorce case, the court (judge) may order community property sold to pay the credit card debt, or may order the other spouse to pay the credit card debt. Community property states generally include Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In Texas, which is a community property state, credit card debt incurred during the marriage is typically considered the joint responsibility of both spouses, regardless of whose name is on the credit card. This means that during a divorce, the court will generally divide all marital debts, including credit card debts, between the spouses. The division is not necessarily equal but is supposed to be just and right, considering the circumstances of the case. If a credit card was issued in one spouse's name, the creditor may initially seek payment from that individual, but the court may still order the debt to be paid from community assets or by the other spouse as part of the divorce settlement. It's important to note that the way credit card debt is handled can vary depending on the specific facts of the case, and an attorney can provide advice tailored to an individual's situation.

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