Watch Where your Money Goes

You husband moved out. You are taking care of the home, the children, and the bills. Here’s some advice: keep track of the bills.

Epstein credits are financial credits given to a spouse who makes payment on community property during separation. If you are paying the mortgage, utilities, child care expenses, credit card bills, or car payments, your payments may be reimbursable. There is one caveat; the money for the payments must not come from a joint account.

There is no automatic right to Epstein credits. However, if you are paying the bills, keeping track of the amount you pay can have an impact on your California divorce settlement. 

Here’s what you need to do to make sure that you get credit for the payments you make:

  • Use an individual account for all payments. Deposit your paycheck into your individual account rather than a joint account. This will allow you to prove that the payments are being made with your money rather than community funds. Open a new account if you don’t have one.
  • Determine which payments are joint debts. Any payment that both you and your spouse are obligated to pay or that benefit joint property can be considered a joint debt.  Debts may include mortgage, car payments, utilities, credit card bills, medical payments, insurance payments, taxes, home maintenance, repairs, and more.
  • Keep records. Make copies of your bills starting at the date of separation. Keep copies of the cancelled checks or electronic payments to show that the bill was paid.

Epstein credits are awarded when the community property is divided. You cannot claim the credits for support payments or debt payments made in lieu of support.

Do you have questions? Our San Francisco divorce attorneys are here to help. To schedule an appointment, call The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.

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