Does my wife’s credit card debt affect me?

April 3rd, 2016 by Questions

I recently found out that my wife has run up approximately 40K in credit card debt. We are not separated and have a Joint bank account. She does not work, and she has no assets. We have been married for 35 years, and the house has always been in my name. I do not intend on paying any of the credit cards – what can happen to my credit? Or what can the credit card companies do to the joint bank account?


One Response to “Does my wife’s credit card debt affect me?”

, Doug Stuive, CA | Trustee | CIRP said:

The answer to this question does depend on whether your name is on any of the credit cards as either a primary or secondary card holder. If you are not a cardholder on any of the cards then this debt will not affect your credit rating in any way. A person’s credit record is independent to the credit record of one’s spouse. The credit card companies can eventually get a judgment against your wife which can be enforced against her bank accounts. I do believe they can only take 50% of the account balance as she is only a co-owner of the account. That being said you would get ample warning before that action is taken as they would have to serve your wife with a Statement of Claim and other court paperwork before proceeding. At that time you can remove her name from the account.

If you are the primary or secondary card holder on some or all of the cards then you are legally responsible for the entire balance on the account, even if you did not make any of the charges. If that is the case then you will need to find some way of paying the debt back in order to preserve your credit rating and protect your assets. From the credit card companies’ perspective you are as responsible for making the payments if your name is on the account. Non-payment by your wife will eventually lead to collection activity against you.

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