Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Ohio family law: Divorce and the handling of credit card debt

The majority of couples in the United States have some level of shared debt. Credit card debt tends to be a big problem in most households. Who is responsible for that debt when a marriage ends? Here is what Ohio family law has to say about it.

Ohio is an equitable distribution state. This means that all shared property, whether it is positive or negative in value, will be split in an equitable manner between both spouses in a divorce agreement. This does not mean a 50/50 split is to be expected. It just means that the final property division settlement needs to be fair for both parties.

When it comes to shared credit card debt, it may be divided in a number of ways. First, on joint accounts, each spouse may be held responsible for a portion of the debt -- how much, exactly, can be negotiated in private or ordered by a judge. Second, if the account is in one name and a spouse is an authorized user, the account owner may be held fully responsible for the debt -- it is possible, though, for a judge to order the authorized user to pay a portion of the debt. Third, if the debt is spread out over several accounts, each party may be named responsible for the repayment of specific accounts rather than being responsible for a portion of every account. Finally, fourth, the spouse with the financial means to tackle the debt post-divorce will be required to pay it off on his or her own.

Shared debt is just one more thing for divorcing couples to fight about, but it is something that has to be addressed. Someone has to repay the creditors. Ohio residents who are concerned about how their debts will be divided as part of their divorce settlements can turn to a family law attorney to get any questions they have on this topic answered.

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