When you and your spouse get married, you may be excited to start the next chapter of your life with this person. However, you may be shocked to discover how much credit card debt your spouse is in. Though you love them, you may wonder if this will impact you. Additionally, if you find yourself inundated by debt collectors or even facing a lawsuit over your spouse’s credit card debt, understanding your liability in these instances is essential. This blog explores whether or not you can be held responsible and how an Arroyo Grande consumer lawyer can assist you with any challenges you may face.
Can I Face Liability for My Spouse’s Credit Card Debt?
Whether or not you can be impacted by your spouse’s spending habits depends on several factors, including your role in opening the account and where you live.
In California, when a couple marries, all assets they acquire following the union are deemed marital assets under their community property laws. Essentially, this means they are owned equally by both parties in the marriage. As such, any debt acquired by your spouse during your marriage essentially becomes yours. This means any debt your spouse was in before the union will remain theirs unless you become an authorized user on their account.
Additionally, if you open a joint account with your spouse and they rack up considerable debt, you will be held liable as you and your spouse opened the account under both of your names. Similarly, if your spouse files for bankruptcy and has their credit card debt discharged, your creditors can still pursue you for the remaining funds.
What Should I Do if This Debt Affects Me?
If you discover that your spouse’s debt is impacting you, whether you are experiencing creditor harassment or a potential lawsuit, you may be in a panic. However, it’s important to remain calm.
You should immediately connect with an attorney if you are experiencing creditor harassment or are served with a lawsuit over the debt your spouse has accrued. It’s important to note that even if your spouse is receiving calls from creditors about a debt they accrued before the marriage, debt collectors are allowed to contact you. In fact, as a spouse, you are one of three people a debt collector is permitted to speak to regarding your spouse’s debt.
Working with an attorney will allow you the opportunity to receive the best possible outcome for your unique circumstances. At Loker Law, we understand the concern you may have about your credit when your spouse accrues debt. Our team will work with you whether you’re facing a lawsuit or your credit report inaccurately reflects accounts owned solely by your spouse. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.