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How to divide credit card debt in divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2019 | Firm News

As you move through the divorce process, you’ll come to find that property division demands quite a bit of attention. Along the way, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to debt division, as this will impact you now and in the future.

Many divorcing couples share credit card debt. If you find yourself in this position, the following advice will help:

  • Create a list of all your credit card debt: This is particularly true if you have a balance on more than one credit card, as it’s easy to lose track of how much you owe.
  • Pay off joint credit cards: If you have enough money in the bank, speak with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about paying off the joint credit card debt together. This allows you to eliminate one more thing from your plate.
  • Divide up the debt: If you’re unable or unwilling to pay off the debt, divide it evenly on separate credit cards. This allows both individuals to take on an equal amount of debt, thus tackling it however they best see fit.
  • Keep detailed records: For example, if the other person runs up a large bill without your knowledge, you shouldn’t be on the hook for this expense. To protect against this, cancel joint credit cards and separate the debt shortly after deciding to divorce.
  • Learn more about bankruptcy: Before you divorce, it may be in your best interest to file for bankruptcy. If you’re drowning in debt, especially credit card debt, bankruptcy may be able to help. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate or reduce your joint credit card debt.
  • Visit with a credit counselor: You can do this on your own to gain more insight into the steps you should and shouldn’t take as you prepare for divorce. You are likely to pick up tips that help you deal with your current situation, as well as the financial challenges you’ll face after your divorce is finalized.

Dividing credit card debt in divorce is not always as simple as it sounds. If your ex is putting up a fight, it’s important to understand your legal rights and to protect them at all costs. If you neglect to do so, you could get stuck with more debt than you should.