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Divorce and credit card debt: What should you do?

During your marriage, it's common to use joint credit cards for a variety of reasons. While there's nothing wrong with this, it can result in a complex situation should you decide to divorce.

Most divorcing couples focus a good amount of time on asset division, while never thinking twice about the debt that they share. It's okay to fight for the assets you deserve, but you can't escape the divorce process without first dividing your debt.

Here are several tips that can help you better deal with divorce and credit card debt:

  • Pay off joint credit cards together: Once you decide to divorce, review your joint credit card debt to get a clear idea of your balance. From there, if you have the means, pay off this debt together. One of the best ways of doing so is to use cash that you have in the bank.
  • Divide up the debt: If you don't have the money to pay off your joint credit cards, divide the debt on individual cards. You can do this easily enough with a balance transfer.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: Even if you feel that you can still trust the other individual, you shouldn't leave joint credit card accounts open. Doing so can result in your soon-to-be ex-spouse running up a large balance, thus making you responsible for half.
  • Track all your purchases: If you've recently used a joint credit card to make a purchase, keep the receipt for future use. Just the same, make note of anything your spouse has used the card for.
  • Consider bankruptcy: If you're still married, you have the option to file for bankruptcy as a means of eliminating some or all of your credit card debt (among other types). It's not always the right decision, but it's an option to consider if your finances are in bad shape.

As you prepare for the divorce process, a lot of your attention will turn to property and debt division. When it comes to credit card debt, you need to take special care. The decisions you make now and during your divorce will dictate how you move forward with your financial life after divorce.

If you require additional information on divorce and financial matters, review our website for guidance.

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