When you are married and have credit cards, you probably don’t think twice about will happen to those accounts if you get a divorce. Sadly, getting a divorce when you and your ex owe credit card debt is something that can ruin your credit. Our Colorado readers might be interested in learning a little about how a divorce can destroy your credit.
Is credit card debt divided during divorce?
Yes, marital debt is covered in the divorce settlement. While that lets you and your ex know who should pay what, it actually doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to pay the debts. When you open a credit account, you agree to pay the amount of credit you use plus fees and interest. Since a divorce decree is a civil agreement between you and your ex, the credit card companies and other creditors don’t have to abide by the settlement. That means they can come after you if your ex doesn’t pay for the bill.
What can I do to protect myself?
One way to protect yourself is to divide the debts between you and your spouse. Once those debts are divided, each of you can transfer the balance to an individual account. That would essentially leave you with no joint debt since the joint accounts would be paid off. This plan is contingent upon the creditors being willing to open individual accounts for you and your ex. If you do this, make sure that all joint accounts are closed so you ex can’t make new charges on those. If you have considerable debt and haven’t filed for divorce, consider filing for bankruptcy together so neither you nor your ex will have to pay the joint debt.
Figuring out who has to pay what credit cards can be difficult. For that reason, you should learn how the law can help you protect yourself from financial ruin as you go through the divorce.
Source: CreditCards.com, “Dividing credit card debt in divorce” Amy Buttell, Nov. 19, 2014