Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Washington

Transfer debt from one to both spouses

I recently paid off 3 of credit cards using a new credit card on-line with mine and my husbands name. Yes, we are married and living together. I didn't ask to put his name on it, figuring since we were both married, I was paying off mutual debt. With his name on the account, I had zero interest, I figured to save hundreds of dollars in interest, Of course, I would still pay this account using my own money anyway. My husband seems to think we need seperate everything from debt, to vacations, to video cameras, etc...As far as I am concerned, I might as well be his room mate. Anyway, he found out and had a heart attack and has called the company filing fraudulent charges, and he has no intention of paying them. I told him I would be responsible for making payments. So I need to know if I could get into trouble (legally) for this even though we are married and it is co- debt. This debt accrued so I could purchase clothes, household goods, groceries, etc.. for the family, but he seems to think it is strictly my own debt. He is unemployed and refuses to work. This does not seem to fair. As the sole breadwinner I should be able to pay any financial obligations back as I see fit, using his name or not. Any advice I would appreciate.

Asked on 2/26/07, 10:21 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Elizabeth Powell ELizabeth Powell PS Inc
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Re: Transfer debt from one to both spouses

Washington is a community property state. That means that half of everything that's yours such as your paycheck is actually half his. Everything he thinks of as his is actually half yours. Those are undivided halves.

Either of you can make commitments with credit card companies, or car dealerships or house builders - and you don't need permission from the other spouse to do so.

In the event that you default on the agreement, the company can come after your spouse for the debt.

This is especially exciting when its the IRS coming after one spouse for a lien on unpaid taxes.

"Fraudulent charges" would be "filed" with the police, not with the company. The police would tell him its a civil matter, not a crime.

People try this all the time with cars during a divorce, calling and reporting it stolen when the other spouse is using it, sometimes by agreement but sometimes not.

So to answer your question, sounds like your marriage is not a happy place right now, but no, he cannot turn on you and make you go to jail for your credit decisions.

Hope this helps. Powell

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Answered on 2/26/07, 11:39 pm

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