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Does a physical separation date have any significance when separating debt during divorce? Or is a legal separation necessary?

Henderson, NV |

My husband and I are getting divorced. I suspect he has acquired a new credit card since our physical separation. (Using it for trips with his new girlfriend.) Will filing a legal separation at this point protect me from that debt? Or is this something best addressed in our divorce decree?

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Attorney answers 3


Make sure that you note the date of separation. Under most circumstances, that is the date where one party moved out of the community home. Property or debt acquired after that date is generally considered separate.


Community property and debt are not divided until the decree of divorce is final. While you can make an argument that you should not be responsible for debt incurred by your husband after the date of separation, and some judges maygrant that, you are legally on the hook for the debt until a decree of legal separation or decree of divorce is filed. If you have already started divorce proceedings, this will be addressed during your divorce.


Under Nevada law, all assets and debts are community property and subject to equal division whether you are living together or living apart. The date of separation makes no difference under the law, although it might in equity. A legal separation is a waste of time if you know you are getting divorced -- it requires going through the exact same legal process of dividing all assets and debts. It is possible your husband will not list his new credit card as a debt that needs divided in the divorce. If he does include it, he must produce card statements and show what the card was used for, giving you the argument of waste and/or breach of fiduciary duty if the card was used for other than community purposes. Get your divorce case filed if you have not already, and work toward getting that final decree issued to clearly define who is responsible for each debt.

Responses are for general information purposes only, and are based on the extremely limited facts given. A consultation with an attorney experienced in the area of law(s) indicated in the question is highly recommended. Information and advice given here should not be relied upon for any final action or decision, as the information is limited by its nature to the question asked and the fact(s) presented in that question. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, particularly considering that the names of the parties are unknown.