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Community property, debt and its impact on one’s credit

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2019 | Firm News, Property Division, Property Division |

In today’s world a good credit score is a very valuable asset. It can affect one’s ability to get credit and can also be a factor in obtaining employment. A married couple often builds a credit history jointly through shared credit cards, mortgages and car loans. If the couple divorces, these debts may be considered part of community property in California.

California is a community property state and as such debt acquired during the marriage is typically considered community property, potentially making each partner equally responsible for the debt. When it comes to negotiating a settlement, it is possible that one person may agree to take on responsibility for a car loan and the other may take responsibility for a mortgage on a summer house, just to give a couple of examples. However, just because the divorcing couple agree and the judge does as well, that will have no affect on one’s obligation to the creditors.

A judge’s ruling does not change the fact that the obligation to repay the debt is in the name of both partners and they therefore legally share an obligation to repay regardless of whether they are divorced or married. Failure to pay can have a negative impact on one’s credit score. Late payments can also negatively impact the score.

When contemplating a divorce in California, a person may wish to take stock of community property and prepare for how that may be divided in a divorce settlement. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney may be helpful in preparing for negotiations regarding property splits. The more that can be worked out ahead of time the smoother negotiations may go.


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