Finances play a crucial role during divorce, just as they do during marriage. Conflict concerning money is one of the leading causes of strife in relationships.
One of the questions divorcing couples contend with during divorce is the division of any debts accrued during marriage. Not all debts are created equal. Credit card debts can present particularly unique challenges for a divorcing couple. As a result, many spouses find themselves wondering what will happen to their credit card debts during divorce.
Credit card debts and Arizona divorce
Arizona is a community property state. This means that all property (assets and debts) acquired by either spouse during the course of their marriage is classified as part of the couple’s broader marital estate. In the event of a divorce, the value of this estate must – almost always – be divided equally.
Dealing with credit card debt, however, can be complicated. If either party had a credit card prior to the marriage, the balance on that card could potentially be considered “separate” property and, thus, the responsibility of the spouse whose name is on the card. Likewise, if you are an additional cardholder on your spouse’s credit card, any debt accrued on the card could potentially be classified as the responsibility of the primary cardholder, unless it is made clear that both spouses utilize the card and pay for purchases made on the card as well.
If both spouses benefited from the transactions associated with a specific card, the resulting debt will likely be treated as part of the marital estate and divided per the Arizona debt division statute if a couple litigates their divorce. If the cardholder spouse benefited from the transactions alone, they may be held solely responsible for the debt, at a judge’s discretion.
Protecting your rights
It is not uncommon for married couples to use personal or joint credit cards from time to time. Learning more about Arizona property division laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests while navigating the subject of credit card debt during divorce with the assistance of a legal professional.