What qualifies as “joint debt” under SCRA?

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2011

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What qualifies as “joint debt” under SCRA?

My husband is in the Air Force Reserves and will be activated and deployed soon. I know his credit cards’ interest rates can be lowered under the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. I was wondering if my credit cards also qualify – they are only in my name, BUT the balances were acquired during our marriage, for the benefit of both of us. Some of the cards were opened during our marriage, with his income included in the “annual household income” inquiry. Is that considered “joint debt” or must his name also be on the cards?

Asked on September 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

From what I have read about the act - which seems to really attempt to help service members and their family - it covers you as their spouse but only if you are indeed on the cards together.  Here is a link to the benefits:  http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,120626,00.html?ESRC=army-a.nl

Even though your cards may not be covered under the act, the benefit to your husband's obligations can indeed help you in this time to pay down your debt.  He is entitled to a reduction on his credit card interest amount to 6% (if he qualifies).  He should do what he can before he is depolyed to make sure that it takes effect.  Once that is in effect, pay only the minimum on those cards and pay off as much debt as you can on the ones with the larger interest rate,  This will get them paid down sooner and maybe even get rid of them all together.  Then start to work on the 6% cards.  Good luck to you. 

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