Is my debt also my spouse's debt?

Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 21:14

Consumer Proposals, Bankruptcy, Debt and Relationships


Your debts do not affect your spouse’s credit rating!

Regardless of your relationship status, whether you are married or common law, you and your spouse are two separate legal entities. Your spouse is not automatically responsible for your debts simply because they are your spouse or may have a spousal card on one of your accounts.

However, if your spouse has co-signed or co-borrowed any of your accounts then they are liable for that debt. Even if you file a consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy the joint creditors will be entitled to purse the co-signer or co-borrower for payment. In cases where there are significant joint-debts both spouses may need to review their options.

Therefore, a credit card account started by your spouse while they were single does not become your legal responsibility just because you’re married. On the other hand, a joint credit card account or mortgage you’ve both signed for is a joint debt, meaning both you and your spouse are on the hook and the bankruptcy of just one of you will leave the other with the debt.

If you and your spouse are separated or divorced, responsibility for debt between spouses as listed in a separation or divorce agreement does not legally bind a financial institution or creditor. Unless you obtain concurrence to the division and re-assigning of responsibility of debt from the creditor, they have the right to pursue anyone who signed on the debt.

Think of any debt that you have as your debt only and the responsibility it solely yours. Therefore if you’re preparing to file bankruptcy without your spouse, your joint debt will become your spouse’s full responsibility.

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