What should I know about dividing debts in divorce?

Going through a divorce means that you have to divide everything, including your debts. Some people who have credit card debt think that this means the credit card companies have to abide by the divorce decree. That belief is incorrect.

Why don’t creditors have to abide by the divorce terms?

Creditors don’t have to abide by the orders in a divorce settlement because the creditors aren’t a party in the case. Divorces are civil matters, so the only parties that have to abide by the terms are the plaintiff and defendant, which would be you and your ex.

What if my ex is supposed to pay and doesn’t?

If your ex doesn’t pay a credit card bill that he or she was supposed to pay as part of the divorce, the creditor can come after you. This is true even if your ex files for bankruptcy. The creditors can seek the full balance, including late fees, penalties, and interest from you. The only way that you would be able to get your ex to pay would be by going back to court.

How can I avoid this problem?

When you decide that you are going to divorce, close any joint credit card accounts you have. If possible, you and your ex can each pay half of the balance before the divorce is final. Another option would be for you to transfer the debts you are responsible for into accounts in only your name and have your ex do the same with the debts he or she is responsible for paying.

Dividing debts in a divorce is just as important as dividing assets. Make sure that you understand how the debt and asset division during your Texas divorce will affect you.

Source: CreditCards.com, “Dividing credit card debt in divorce,” Amy E. Buttell, accessed March 03, 2016

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