What to do with personal credit cards opened before the marriage that are not joint?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2011

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What to do with personal credit cards opened before the marriage that are not joint?

We have some credit cards under our own names and was opened before marriage. We are applying for dissolution of marriage in CA; married a little over 2 years. Do these credit cards fall under community obligation or separate property? We do not use each others credit card; we only use our own.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Family Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Typically in most states the answer is no, a spouse cannot be held liable for pre-marital debts.  However, CA is a community property state.  And, as a general rule, in a community property state one spouse assumes liability for the other spouse's pre-marital debts.  As a practical matter, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses as doing so tends to complicate the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment. But they could so your house may be at risk if it is non-exempt property under state law.

Since community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability, you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who can review thespecific details of your situation and advise you accordingly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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