Given the current economic landscape, a question that has frequently come up is: Can one spouse become responsible for the other spouse’s credit card debt at any time during a divorce?
The short answer: being married does not permit a creditor of one spouse to seek payment from the other spouse. However, one spouse can be ordered by the family court to pay some or all of the debts of the other spouse.
The longer answer is, of course, “it depends.” Under Connecticut Law, specifically §46b-81, as part of property distribution, the court is vested with the authority at the time of the divorce to order either party to pay any portion of the debts owed by the other spouse, and to provide a recourse through the family court in the event of failure to pay what was ordered. The court’s orders regarding debts will depend on the source and amounts of debts, how, when, and why they were accrued, as well as the overall financial mosaic that makes up the totality of the parties’ finances.
During the divorce process (“pendente lite”) the court is capable of entering orders that either make payments on specific expenses or liabilities, in order to preserve the marital estate from wasting or dissipation. The orders will depend on once again on the “mosaic” of the finances (including temporary orders of alimony or child support) and the immediate need of the respective parties as well as the need to avoid wasting assets.
At LKM we pride ourselves on our depth of litigation experience, and staying ahead of potential problems and addressing them amicably is an important part of our commitment to doing all that we reasonably can to help our clients emerge positively from the divorce process.
If your divorce includes a difficult or complex interpersonal relationship and complex financial settlements, be sure to seek out an experienced family law attorney, as every case is different. Contact us today for a consultation.