Divorce and Credit Card Debt
Usually, it is seen that credit card debt is not given much importance in a divorce judgment. They are assigned to either one of the divorcing couple. This is not very fair when sometimes one of the spouses have to pay for expenses incurred by the other, that too after a divorce. Maximum protection should be extended to spouses by the divorce attorney to ward off such incidents from happening. They should ensure that expenses of the other spouse are paid off prior to credit card debt being handed over to their client or they should ensure that their credit debt is cleared before divorce judgment is passed.
This is very important since, credit card companies are not in any way obliged to respect terms of a divorce judgment. They are only responsible for the money they gave you when you were still married, and now they want it back. Ideally, all joint debts should be identified which should compulsorily include all credit cards, even those which have been taken out by one spouse without knowledge of other. Copies of credit reports of divorcing couples can be checked out to determine unpaid credit or debt so that it can be handed over to the one responsible in incurring it.
It is better to ensure that all joint credit cards are closed prior to getting a divorce. In addition, you need to get your name removed from all joint accounts which may be used by your spouse after divorce. Your divorce attorney is the best person to guide you through all such problems. Removing your name from joint accounts would ensure that you are not held responsible for debts incurred after removal. But you would have to share burden of debts incurred till then, with your spouse and repay your share of it. Moreover, your attorney would also advise you to revoke authorization for your accounts where your spouse was an authorized signer.
There have been many cases where your spouse fails to pay off a joint credit card debt after divorce and you too are held responsible for it. Hence appropriate steps need to be taken to cut off all liabilities that an open joint account can bring.
Failure to do this can cause debt loads on these cards, defaults, delinquent payments, referral to collection agency to appear in your credit report as well. Apart from this you will have to put up with creditors pursuing you for payment that too of interest, legal fees and penalties.
Divorce judgments should allocate a deadline by when credit card debts divided between both spouses are completely paid off. Your divorce attorney can include language which would make spouse’s obligations non dischargeable in the divorce judgment.