What happens to the credit card debt you share with your spouse in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2021 | Property Division |

When couples divorce, they usually talk about how to divide up their valuable assets, such as homes, jewelry collections and cars.

They seldom discuss what to do with their debts, including any hefty balances on their joint credit cards. That can be a huge mistake.

How credit card companies see your debt

Many divorcing couples try to negotiate agreements whereby each spouse takes on the obligation to pay certain debts. You have to trust your ex to agree to this, though, as they may otherwise default in making payments.

Credit card companies are just like many other creditors — and they don’t particularly care if your divorce agreement assigns a debt to your spouse. If one of you fails to pay up, the bank will likely pursue you both for the debt. 

How to best handle your credit card debt when you divorce

Many divorcing couples find it best to pay off any outstanding balances on their credit cards or loans before they finalize their divorce. In some cases, that may mean cashing in other assets to pay off the bills or refinancing a debt so that it is solely in one party’s name. That makes it clear who has the debt — and keeps one party’s failure to pay down the line from affecting the other’s credit.

How to document your agreement over the marital debts

As with any contract, you’ll want to document your agreement in your divorce settlement. Putting this information in writing can help you down the road if one of you neglects to pay as you agreed. This would potentially allow you to seek a modification order or play a role in enabling you to discharge your debt in bankruptcy, too. 

Don’t let yourself get the wrong end of the financial stick. A property division attorney here in Hartford can help you negotiate a debt settlement agreement with your ex that best protects your interests.