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What happens to joint credit card debt in divorce?

Once you decide to divorce, your attention will turn to a variety of matters. For example, it's imperative to create a property and debt division checklist.

As a married couple, you may have used joint credit cards for a number of reasons. If you have this type of debt and are ready to go through the divorce process, there are some things you can do to ease your stress:

  • Talk to your spouse about paying off joint credit card debt: If you have the means to do so, pay off your joint credit card debt before you divorce. This gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Use balance transfer credit cards: With this approach, you and your spouse can split the balance down the middle. The end result is a credit card in your name, allowing you to deal with the debt however you want.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: It doesn't matter if you're paying off your debt or transferring it to separate credit cards, cancel any joint cards. If you fail to do so, your spouse could continue to use it, putting you on the hook for half the balance.

If you don't do any of these things before the divorce process, you'll need to negotiate and divide the debt at some point.

Matters of property and debt division can complicate any divorce, so make sure you have a basic idea of the approach you want to take. A few key decisions here and there can protect your legal rights and help you better understand how to improve your situation now and in the future.

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