Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“Is a person liable for charges made by his or her spouse on a credit card, if the spouse signed their name on a credit card application without their knowledge or permission?”This is an interesting question in that there can be a different answer depending on who is asking the question and why. Are you asking this as part of a divorce action? Divorce law will control. In most states, it doesn’t matter whose name the card is in; it could arguably be a marital debt and therefore could be divided or allocated according to the same rules as any other debt.
Question: In many places, spouses can sign on behalf of each other – sort of a reflection of two people joined as one. If you’re asking from the perspective of not wanting to pay the credit card company, it is possible that you can sign an affidavit and offer proof to the company showing that you didn’t sign the application (such as your signature doesn’t match the one on the application), and you might avoid responsibility for the debt from the credit card company. However, in most cases, they’ll also charge your spouse criminally and require restitution (not to mention attorney fees, possible jail time, etc.). So if you’re still married and take that approach, you might not be for long.