Florida Laws on Credit Cards & Divorce

by Denise Sullivan

Florida uses the equitable distribution method to split credit card debt and other financial responsibilities in a divorce. The division is not required to be equal, but it must be fair and reasonable, according to the court's judgment. The court will consider the financial situation of each spouse, contributions by the spouses during the marriage, the length of the marriage and the best interests of the children.

Non-Marital Credit Cards

Non-marital debts are excluded from the consideration by Florida courts when issuing a divorce decree. If one spouse opens a credit card in her name during the marriage, it may be considered separate property as long as no marital funds are used to pay the bill. Credit cards used for one spouse's business expenses may qualify as a non-marital debt; however, this does not apply if the card was used at any time to purchase items for the household. If the credit card is deemed a non-marital debt, only the spouse who opened the account is responsible for making payments on it after the divorce.

Pre-Marital Credit Cards

Charges made on credit cards opened by one spouse before the marriage are considered pre-marital debts in Florida.These credit cards continue to be the responsibility of the spouse originally listed on the account. However, if the other spouse uses the card at some point during the marriage, any bills may be reclassified as a joint debt.

Joint Credit Cards

In Florida, joint debts are divided in court along with the couple's assets. Both spouses' names do not have to be listed on a credit card for it to be classified as a joint debt. Use of the card by the non-listed spouse or purchasing items for the benefit of the entire household may be enough to qualify as a joint account. When dividing joint debts, the judge will start with an equal split if the spouses cannot agree on distribution. After that, he may adjust the split based on the individual circumstances present in the marriage.

Considerations

Florida divorce decrees are not binding on creditors. Both spouses will remain legally responsible for the debt if their names are listed on the credit card. Even if one spouse agrees to take over the payments through the divorce agreement, the credit card company may initiate collection proceedings against the non-paying spouse if the account becomes delinquent. The paying spouse may also be prevented from discharging the debt through bankruptcy.

About the Author

Denise Sullivan has been writing professionally for more than five years after a long career in business. She has been published on Yahoo! Voices and other publications. Her areas of expertise are business, law, gaming, home renovations, gardening, sports and exercise.

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