Credit card debt | The Manila Times

Dear PAO,

Can I be held liable for the credit card debts obtained by my husband? He has a credit card that he has been using since the start of the pandemic. I am not sure if he signed a contract for it or if it was just mailed to him at home that he started using, but I am certain that I did not sign any credit card agreement with him. My friend told me that I can be held solidarily liable. Is this true?


Dear Asha,

Solidary liability exists when the obligation expressly states, or when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity. This is clearly provided for under Article 1207 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which states:

“The concurrence of two or more creditors or of two or more debtors in one and the same obligation does not imply that each one of the former has a right to demand, or that each one of the latter is bound to render, entire compliance with the prestation. There is a solidary liability only when the obligation expressly states or when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity.” (Emphasis supplied)

As between spouses, our laws state that their property relationship shall be governed in the following order: (1) By marriage settlements executed before the marriage; (2) By the provisions of the Family Code; and (3) By the local custom. (Article 74, Family Code of the Philippines) In the absence of a marriage settlement, or when the regime agreed upon by the spouses is void, they shall be governed by the system of absolute community of property as established in the Family Code. (Article 75, Id.)

Relating the foregoing provisions to the problem which you have mentioned, we submit that you should look into the provisions of your marriage settlement, if you and your husband executed one prior to the celebration of your marriage in order to determine the extent of your liability insofar as the debts incurred by your husband.

If you and your husband do not have a marriage settlement and are thereby governed by the system of absolute community of property, your community property may be held liable for the debts incurred by your husband with your consent, or for his debts which have been incurred without your consent but may have benefited your family. Should your community property be insufficient to cover those debts, you may then be held solidarily liable with your separate properties. Article 94 of the Family Code particularly provides:

“Article 94. The absolute community of property shall be liable for: x x x

“(2) All debts and obligations contracted during the marriage by the designated administrator-spouse for the benefit of the community, or by both spouses, or by one spouse with the consent of the other;

“(3) Debts and obligations contracted by either spouse without the consent of the other to the extent that the family may have been benefited; x x x

“If the community property is insufficient to cover the foregoing liabilities, except those falling under paragraph (9), the spouses shall be solidarily liable for the unpaid balance with their separate properties.”

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to [email protected]

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