Who Pays Credit Card Debt in a Divorce? North Carolina Divorce Lawyers Educates
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may be wondering how credit card debt is divided in a divorce.
An experienced Raleigh divorce lawyer can help you explore your options says Raleigh Vitale Family Law,
Whether you have a little or a lot, you want to make sure you get a fair result. An experienced North Carolina divorce lawyer can help you explore your options.
Got Debt? You’re Not Alone
If you and your spouse have a lot of credit card debt, rest assured you are not alone. The average American household has over $15,000 in credit card debt.
When you’re facing a divorce, having a debt cloud looming over your head can make it seem like you will never be able to put your bills behind you. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you’re not stuck paying your spouse’s credit card debts. There are also ways to reduce your overall financial obligations. If you and your spouse have significant debts, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer, as even a small mistake during the divorce process can leave you saddled with debts you shouldn’t have to pay.
The first step in understanding how credit card debts are divided in divorce is knowing how North Carolina law treats debts in a marriage.
North Carolina Is an Equitable Distribution State
Like most states, North Carolina follows the “equitable distribution” rule when it comes to dividing debts in a divorce. This means that debts are divided equitably, but it does not always mean they are divided equally between the husband and wife. Under North Carolina law, courts consider a long list of factors to determine how the debts should be distributed. The courts use these same factors to divide the parties’ assets. Some of these factors include the length of the marriage, the spouses’ education levels, and whether either spouse did anything to devalue or “waste” the couple’s assets.
The law also distinguishes between “marital” and “separate”debt. Generally, assets or debts acquired by a spouse before the marriage took place are considered separate and not subject to distribution. Similarly, as a general rule, debts and assets acquired by one or both spouses while they were married are considered marital and are subject to distribution. In some cases, however, assets (or debts) acquired by one spouse are considered separate, even if the spouse acquired the property or debt while the parties were married. Common examples include inheritances and settlements in personal injury cases. Under certain circumstances, debts can also be considered the separate property of one spouse, particularly if the debt did not serve a marital purpose.
I Didn’t Know about the Debt. Do I Still Have to Pay?
In some cases, a husband or wife opens a credit card without telling the other person. Finding out your spouse has a secret credit card with a big balance can be a devastating financial blow.
If you suspect your spouse has a charge card you didn’t know about, it’s important to speak to a North Carolina divorce lawyer right away. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to prove that you had nothing to do with the debt. For example, you may be able to use financial records to establish that no marital purpose was served by the debt. For example, the court may decide you are not responsible for the debt if your spouse used a credit card to pay for gifts or outings with a third party, a divorce lawyer consultation, or to furnish an apartment in anticipation of ending the marriage.
Call a North Carolina Divorce Lawyer Today
Debt is a common issue in North Carolina divorce cases. Get peace of mind by calling the divorce lawyers at Vitale Family Law. Discuss your case with an experienced and compassionate lawyer. Call us today. 919-635-5905.
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