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Joint credit card debt and divorce

Getting a divorce requires you and your spouse to figure out a variety of complex issues. One complication that can haunt you even long after your divorce decree is joint credit card debt. Breaking up with your spouse is difficult, but it may be even harder to break ties with your creditors. 

Jointly-held debt can have significant consequences on your newly single life. Your creditors may go after you if your ex fails to pay back the debt or files for bankruptcy. 

Responsibility for joint debt

The family court will hold you equally liable for any debt you have with your spouse. But no matter what the judge orders, you have a contractual obligation for any credit card debt in your name. This is true even if your spouse contributes to or acquires it, such as if your spouse is an authorized user on your card. The bottom line is that the language in your divorce decree does not matter to creditors. There is an existing agreement with your credit card company, and they will hold you to it even if the decree says otherwise. 

Canceling cards

One method of preventing your spouse from running up more debt and making you liable for it is to close joint cards. The last thing you want is for your spouse to have the option of getting revenge by racking up extra debt. Even if you believe your spouse is trustworthy, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Pay off joint debt ASAP

It is ideal for both you and your spouse to deal with as little joint debt as possible during your divorce. You may want to work together to pay off this debt so you do not need to worry about splitting it and any complications that may arise. One way to do this involves using joint savings.

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