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What happens to credit card debt when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Family Law |

When you and your spouse make the decision to part ways, you must figure out what to with any assets and debts you currently share. If you and your ex were like many married couples and took out credit cards together, you may have questions about how much of your credit card debt may be your responsibility.

So, what happens to your credit card debt when you divorce, and under what circumstances might you have an obligation to pay it?

The name on the account matters

Your level of responsibility with regard to credit card debt depends in part on whether your name appears on the credit card in question. If it does, then yes; you likely have a legal obligation to settle the debt. If an account is under your name and yours alone, but your ex ran up the bill, you are, unfortunately, probably still on the hook for the balance.

If the credit card account is under both your names, an Indiana court may require that you and your ex share the liability for the debt.

When you must pay an ex’s debt

You may have to pay your ex’s debt in limited circumstances if a court orders you to do so in a divorce decree. Also, if you both accumulated debt under your name and your ex failed to pay his or her share, the credit card company may come after you to collect on it. In this case, you do have a legal obligation to settle it.

How to work with your ex

If you know divorce is imminent, talk to your ex about working together one last time to eliminate your shared debt. Doing so may save you both money in the long run by eliminating a potentially contentious court battle. You may also want to discuss closing any accounts you share as you begin the divorce process to prevent things from getting worse or to prevent either of you from adding to a shared debt.