Couples going through divorce must take steps to separate their finances. This is especially true for credit cards and other debts that a couple shares. By doing this, the court can identify one person as legally responsible for repaying a debt, and the other person then has no responsibility to help with the payments.
Typically, couples have two different kinds of credit card accounts during marriage: individual and joint accounts.
In an individual credit card account, the name the account was opened under is the person responsible for paying off any debt. People who have individual credit card accounts can authorize other users, but other users may not be held responsible for the debts. Individual credit card accounts will affect the credit score of the owner of the account and possibly any authorized users.
If you live in a community property state, the debts from one spouse's individual credit card accounts may appear on your credit history since all debt incurred during the marriage is typically considered marital debt.
Joint credit card accounts have multiple owners of the account. No matter who made the purchases, both spouses are responsible for any debts and will appear on both people's credit histories.
When filing for divorce, joint credit card accounts can cause some financial issues for a couple. With joint accounts in divorce, both spouses are held responsible for any transactions made on the account until it is frozen or closed.
While maintaining joint credit card accounts during divorce, it's important to continue to make payments because the accounts are still affecting both spouses' credit histories. Both spouses are still responsible for any outstanding balances.
You may choose to close joint credit card accounts during divorce to help protect credit scores. To do so, you need to contact the credit card company about the pending divorce with written request to close the account and cancel the cards. Creditors can't close an account without a request, and they don't have to change a joint account to an individual account.
When requesting to close a credit card account, it's a good idea to ask for a current statement so you are aware of the balance on the card. If your spouse continues to use the account and not pay the balance, work with a divorce lawyer to figure out how to protect your credit history.
A local divorce lawyer can help you with protecting your financial future by offering advice on how to handle joint and individual credit card accounts. Learn about divorce laws in your state that may affect your credit card accounts by speaking with a divorce attorney near you. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to get started protecting your financial future today.