Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Prior to our divorce, by applying several credit cards on his name and not paying for them, my ex-husband accumulated huge credit card debts. Only his name is on these credit cards. After our divorce, the court awarded the petitioner for the following debts: all obligations in Petitioner�s name. The court also awarded the respondent for the following debts: all obligations in Respondent�s name. Furthermore, the court awarded me our residence (the house). His creditor recorded an Abstract of Judgment after the date of our divorce but before I recorded the Deed. Do I need to pay for his credit card debts which his creditor stated in his Abstract of Judgment? We both live in California.

Asked on 3/12/14, 11:17 am

1 Answer from Attorneys


Without knowing more details, I will give you a general answer. Generally, in a community property State, such as California, even a debt in the name of only one of the partners, can be considered community property. Therefore, the creditor is not necessarily bound by the Family Court's division of the debts, and may be able to come after both of you. You may have some arguments against that, such as the creditor only relying on his credit when issuing the card, and you weren't even a signatory on the card, etc., but it sounds like the family residence had been in both of your names at the time that the debt was incurred, which now puts you in the position that you are now in with respect to the Abstract of Judgment. If you know where your "ex" is, you may be able to get the creditor to go after him, if they understand the cirmstances. If your "ex" has another property, you may be able to get them to put a lien on that property instead. Worse case scenario, you may have recourse against your "ex" for not taking care of that debt, and causing you to have an encumbrance on what is now your house.

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Answered on 3/12/14, 11:31 am

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