The terms “Epstein credits,” “right to reimbursement,” and “credits” often come up during a divorce case, and refer to post-separation payments to benefit the community or other spouse.
There is no automatic right to reimbursement or credits; however, they can have a significant impact on the division of assets and obligations.
Generally speaking, if the payment in question is not for the exclusive benefit of the payor, and not made in lieu of the payor’s obligation to support their ex-spouse or children, then the payor can request reimbursements from the community debt, or the debts or living expenses of the other party.
It is Essential that You Keep Careful, Accurate, and Complete Records
You will need to know all of the debts you and your ex-spouse were obligated to pay as of the date of separation. This includes debts to family members, if applicable, mortgage payments, individual utilities, credit cards, doctors, relatives, automobile loans, taxes, and more.
Contact each creditor and obtain a duplicate original statement for the amount you owe from as close as possible to the date of separation. If the separation does not coincide with the statement date, get the closest statements from before and after the separation date. Make a copy for your attorney and yourself. If there is a dispute over the separation date, this process will be repeated.
When you approach the trial or settlement in your divorce case, obtain a copy of the most current statement of what you owe to each creditor.
If you’ve made payments on any of these accounts after your separation from your earnings or personal bank accounts, copy the back and front of each paid check. If you know that your spouse did the same, keep track of those payments.
Any additional charges on a debt immediately before or after the separation date (provided it is not for a “community purpose”) are usually the separate obligation of the person incurring the charge and not a community debt.
If you have made multiple payments on any individual account, a separate list of each payment by day, amount, and check number should be attached as well. Your attorney will need the original canceled check. If your figures are challenged at a court hearing, it is necessary to give a simple explanation of how you arrived at that figure. Having the statements and your canceled checks helps in this situation.
Use our Community Debts and Payments Worksheet to track this important information.