What happens to credit card debt during a Virginia divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Divorce

Divorcing couples in Virginia are compelled to address many practical issues. For example, they must negotiate an arrangement to divide their marital property. They also need to address any shared debts. Many people find this process confusing and frustrating.

The average married couple in Virginia probably shares a mortgage and a car loan, as well as credit cards. The spouse retaining the home or a vehicle will often need to refinance the loan attached to that property. People may feel less certain about what will happen with their shared credit cards.

They might be part of the marital estate

Under Virginia equitable division laws, judges can look at all of the assets and income that people obtain during the marriage. They can also consider the financial obligations assumed during the marriage. The name on the account does not determine who is responsible for paying the debt. Instead, the timing of taking on the debt and sometimes also the intent behind doing so will be what matters the most. Debts incurred by either spouse for the purpose of supporting the family or maintaining a certain standard of living will typically be part of the pool of marital property.

Debts taken on for purposes that damage the relationship might not be subject to division. For example, credit card debt incurred by someone conducting an affair could sometimes become their separate responsibility during a divorce. Additionally, if one spouse actively lied to the other about their spending habits or debt, excluding specific credit card balances might be possible.

Couples can agree to divide their credit card debts in whatever way they deem appropriate. Otherwise, a judge will decide what to do with those obligations. Their perception of the marriage and the marital estate will directly influence how they decide to split debts, as well as the assets that spouses share.

Understanding what happens with credit cards during a Virginia divorce may help people negotiate arrangements that meet their unique needs given their circumstances. Seeking legal guidance with questions and concerns is generally a good idea.

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