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How to Divide Credit Card Debt in Divorce

How to Divide Credit Card Debt in Divorce PhotoYou know how every fairy tale ends, “happily ever after”? Apparently for some, happily ever after doesn’t exist. More and more married couples are getting divorced, and along with their emotional burdens are the card debts they need to settle.

Here are 5 basic steps on how to divide your credit card debt while processing the divorce:

Consult your attorney

If you’ve already decided to go through with the divorce, consult your attorney immediately. He will explain all the legal matters you need to go through, and how you can slide past them as soon as possible. In terms of credit debts, he can explain the legality of the situation, and how it can be resolved.

Check cards and cancel shared cards

After calling your attorney, make sure to cancel all shared cards immediately. This is to prevent the debt from increasing while the divorce is on-going. If you can’t cancel the account, then let the bank freeze it until the debt is paid.

This is, of course, after telling your soon-to-be-ex spouse that you’re cancelling the card/s. It’s only right to notify the other person when you’ll be cancelling or freezing the account. Have the cancellation in writing and keep a personal copy for your use.

Make a list of debts

Call the credit company and ask for a credit report. If you kept a ledger of the charges you made with the card, that would be better. If not, the credit report would do. Sort out the charges you made, and the charges made by your spouse. Do this individually at first, and then arrange a civil meeting to check if there are any matters that need to be clarified.

Take note that the debts on cards that are named after one spouse, and the other only holds a supplement card, must be settled by the owner of the card alone. This works both ways. This is why checking the card status is essential.

Check each other’s income

The debt can be settled equally by both parties, but the law offers a different case. If you and your spouse have different incomes, the person with the higher salary will pay for most of the debt. This is only fair as the division of debt reflects the ability of each person to pay.

Divide the debts

If the debts have been decided on and the partition is clear, divide the debts and settle the payment. Remember that shared credit cards hold both parties accountable to pay the debt. If one person fails to pay up, the other person’s credit rating might be affected. You may pay for your spouse’s part, but you can ask the court’s help in reimbursing the amount.

Divorce is a rough time to go through. Many couples might not be in the condition, to talk to each other about money matters, when their emotions are high. But, even a civil conversation is a must, just until the debts are divided and settled. It’s also best to have both the attorneys present whenever the couples meet. They could aid in clarifying legal matters, and they could serve as mediators, just in case the talk becomes messy.