Can My Spouse’s Credit Card Debt Affect My Finances in Tennessee?

Can My Spouse’s Credit Card Debt Affect My Finances in Tennessee?

Wondering whether your spouse’s credit card debt can affect your credit score or personal finances is a reasonable concern to have. The last thing you want is a bad credit score on your account when you need to take out a loan for important things. Figuring out whether your spouse’s credit card debt can affect you depends on whether you live in a common law or community property state. If you ever find yourself struggling financially or have questions about bankruptcy, feel free to contact a Tennessee bankruptcy lawyer for guidance.


Long story short, Tennessee is a common law state, otherwise called an equitable distribution state. This means that when it comes to the division of debts between spouses, married or divorced, the debts your spouse owes depends on whether you are sharing a bank account or credit card with your spouse. In other words, if you and your spouse’s names are both on a joint bank account or credit card, then you are both held responsible for any associated debt.

This means you and your spouse could both face damage to your credit scores if you or your spouse miss a payment deadline or fail to pay off the debt in time. At the same time, you both have the opportunity to improve your credit scores by making all the payments on time. You may find relief in the fact that the common law state of Tennessee also comes with the rule that you are not responsible for any credit card debt under your spouse’s name alone.

For example, if your spouse is falling behind on a credit card that is only under your spouse’s name, you would not have to worry about this affecting your credit score. In this instance, only your spouse’s credit score could be affected and the bill collectors will only target your spouse.


Tennessee spouse debt can potentially affect you in a variety of ways. For one, any mistakes your spouse makes on a joint credit card will decrease your credit score. Having a poor credit score can make obtaining loans, cars, and houses will become an uphill battle. This is because applying for something like a mortgage alone is close to impossible.

You also may not be offered the interest rate you could have had if your credit score was higher. One way you can avoid any of these financial risks is to discuss having separate credit cards and separate bank accounts. You could also form a prenuptial agreement for your marriage that lays out maintains separate debts. Another option is to consolidate Tennessee credit card debt.


Dealing with financial crises and bankruptcy on your own can be stressful. Consider talking with our legal team in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and North Georgia to figure out what your best financial options are. You can contact Tom Bible Law at (423) 690-7712 to talk to a Bankruptcy attorney in Tennessee for a free consultation today. Our Tennessee bankruptcy attorneys are located in Chattanooga and Tullahoma. 

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