Individual credit card debt determined to be "marital"


#1

The judge in my divorce determined that all my credit card debt is “marital”. My credit cards are on my name only and all this credit card debt is under "marital’ in the final judgment. The judge however did not order my ex-husband’s name to be added to my credit cards. My ex-husband has separate credit cards on his name only, they were all current and he had no credit card debt at the time of the divorce.

I would like to add my ex-husband’s name to the credit cards, so that he is also liable to pay off these marital debts. How can I do that?


#2

You cannot add your husband’s name to the debt. He is responsible for half the debt pursuant to a court order, and if he fails to abide by his responsibility to pay you may file a motion to hold him in contempt.


#3

Thank you for your advice. You mentioned that he is responsible for 50% of the debt, however, my ex-husband got 100% of the marital assets because of an “extraordinary” contribution to the marriage he claimed. Does this matter with respect to the % of the debt, for which he is responsible? We did charge most of our marital expenses on my credit. Thank you.


#4

He is responsible for 50% of the debt if the order states that he is. I apologize if I misread your post. The judge classifying your credit card debt as martial is not the same as he/she making a 50% distribution of that debt to your spouse.


#5

Dear Erin Clarey,

I apologize, but I don’t understand your last post. I will try to describe my situation in more detail below:

  1. My individual credit card debt was classified as “marital” in the final judgment of my divorce. There are no further comments in the judgment regarding the exact portion ( in % ) of the debt, which would be “my” responsibility and/or “my ex’s” responsibility. The judgment did not order the name of my husband to me added to the debt.

  2. During the marriage we did charge most of our marital expenses on my credit.

  3. During the marriage my ex did have separate credit cards on his name only, they were all current, so he did not have any credit card debt at the time of the divorce.

  4. My ex got 100% of the marital assets because of an “extraordinary” contribution to the marriage, which his lawyers claimed.

Based on the above noted, please advise:

  • Do I have to undertake any specific new legal action, which would lead to a new court order, which would specify the exact portion ( in % ) of the debt, which would be “my” responsibility and the exact portion ( in % ) which would be “my ex’s” responsibility? What type of legal action this would be?

  • Who will decide on this new legal action - the same judge, who decided on our divorce, or a different judge?

  • Can I make my ex pay this “marital” debt without any new legal action, or not? If yes, how? What would be the portion ( in % ) of the debt, which I should ask my ex to pay in view of 1) to 4) above?

Thank you.


#6

If the order does not require your ex to take on any of the debt he does not have to. The debt being classified as martial does not mean he ended up with any responsibility for the same, and it sounds like the judge did not distribute any of the debt to him, therefore the debt must have been distributed to you in full.


#7

Thank you for your last reply, which brings us back to my initial post:

I would like to inform the credit card company about the final judgment, that the debt was classified as “marital”, that after the divorce I am not going to be able to pay the full amount of the card, and will suggest that they should go after him, since he is solvent, while I am not at all, as evident from the final judgment.

Would that be a reasonable approach and what reaction should I expect from the credit card company?

Thank you.


#8

The debt being classified as martial does not mean your ex has any responsibility for the debt. If his name is not on the debt the credit card company has no recourse against him.


#9

You wrote in response to my first post that I cannot add my ex-husband’s name to the debt, but you did not clarify why. Would it be illegal for me to ask the credit card company to add his name on the debt, or is there any other reason why I cannot do that?


#10

Your equitable distribution order is between you and your ex, the credit card companies are not a party to the same and therefore are not effected by the judgment. In any event, just because the debt is classified as martial does not mean he has a responsibility for the debt. The steps in Equitable Distribution are Identification, Classification and Distribution/ Division of martial property. Just because an asset or debt is classified as martial does not mean it was distributed to your husband.

If some of the debt was distributed to him the Order would spell out how he would pay down on the debt. If he wasn’t doing so in accordance with the order you would have an action for contempt against him. The credit card companies are not a party to the action.


#11

I understand that my debt was “identified”, and also “classified” as “marital”, but was not expressly “distributed” to my husband by the Court. However, you didn’t answer my question: Why I cannot add my ex-husband’s name to the debt, would it be illegal for me to ask the credit card company to add his name on the debt on the grounds that it was “classified as marital” by the Court, or is there any other reason why I cannot do that?

Judging by the number of viewings of this topic, I assume that a lot of people are interested to know if we have any legal options for separate legal actions, or any method of arranging with the credit card company, to “distribute a marital credit card debt” to the other spouse, if the divorce decree does not expressly “distribute” the debt to him/her. Thank you.


#12

You cannot add your husband to the debt because it was not distributed to him. It is your sole responsibility according to the Order, and according to the credit card company. The classification does not mean he is responsible.
The credit card company issued the credit in your name relying on your credit, they have no interest in, and cannot add anyone’s name to your debt.