Iím Getting Divorced, What Do I Do with the Credit Cards?
A common question that is received is what happens to credit card debt when you get a divorce.
During divorce, thereís a lot to think about: what do you do about custody, how much is it going to cost, where are you going to live? With all of that in mind, credit cards are probably low on your list of concerns, but the actions you take now can make a world of difference to your finances later.
A survey by credit reporting agency Experian found that 50 percent of divorced people surveyed said that their ex ran up credit card debts on shared accounts, while 59 percent said that finances played a role in their divorce. Therefore, itís important to get ahead before something your ex does crashes your credit.
Step 1: Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. You can request one free every year from each agency. Go over those reports in detail to identify which accounts you share with your ex. Then, work with your ex to figure out who will be responsible for those accounts, and get your name off the ones you agreed you wonít be responsible for.
Step 2: You may feel it would be easiest to just cut in half any credit cards that the two of you share. Think before you snip! The average age of your credit accounts is a part of how credit is calculated. It may be better for your credit score to instead let one party keep the account, instead of closing it. Just make sure your name isnít on any cards you donít use, and ask the issuer to change the account numbers so that the old numbers canít be used by the party that was removed from the account.
Step 3: When considering future credit accounts, track your spending for a few months. This will give you an idea of how to readjust your credit to fit your new single lifestyle. Maybe you spend more now on groceries than you used to Ė so perhaps a card with cash-back on groceries would work best for your new needs. Or maybe you bought a new car after the divorce that uses a lot more gas than youíre used to Ė consider a gas card with good rewards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John K. Grubb
John K. Grubb offers empathy along with professional legal counsel that is not always true of most divorce and family law attorneys. As a family lawyer in Houston TX, John K. Grubb focuses his practice on representing spouses where a corporate or business interest is in dispute. He works closely with clients for child custody arrangements and helps people calculate child support fairly and accurately for high income parents. As a matrimonial and prenup lawyer, he represents many business professionals to secure assets, property and income with premarital and post-marital agreements.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.