No legal separation, am I responsible for his debt?


#1

He walked out on me and my two young children. He was cheating on me. I have begged for him to seek counseling. He has no desire to come back. While gone I have found out he has aquired $19,000 credit card debt and $15,000 auto loan…Am I responsible for that after the divorce?
He pays all bills–because they are in his name and gives me grocery money. I have no access to any credit cards and they are not in my name…HELP please? I have so many questions. This is just the first of many.


#2

Not a lawyer

If the debt was acquired prior to the date of separation, then you are responsible for half. If the debt was acquired after the date of separation, you are not. The date of separation is defined as the date that he left without the intent to come back. If you agree with ending your marriage, I’d suggest changing/rekeying the locks immediately, which is perfectly acceptable if he left without the intent to come back. Good luck.


#3

To clarify, you aren’t immediately liable for half of the debt. If it was acquired during the marriage, it is marital and subject to equitable distribution. The court takes many equitable distribution factors into consideration when determining how the marital estate (debts and assets) should be divided. While not having knowledge of the debts is not a defense as to why you should not be responsible for the debts, it would certainly be a factor for the court’s consideration.