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Joint credit card debt can quickly complicate your divorce

Asset and debt division is one of the most important aspects of any divorce case. Even if you put the necessary time into this, there’s still a chance it will slow you down, add to your stress and have you wondering about the impact on your financial future.

Joint credit card debt is one of the most common sticking points. Even if you own up to the fact that you’re responsible for half the debt, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to help ease the tension. Consider the following:

  • Tally your joint credit card debt as soon as possible: Don’t let this hang over your head as the divorce process arrives, as a lack of knowledge can result in a big surprise that can throw you off track.
  • Talk to your soon-to-be ex-spouse about your options: Once you agree that you’re both responsible for the joint debt, look into ways of eliminating it. For instance, if you have enough expendable cash, you could agree to use some of it to pay off or pay down your joint credit card debt before divorce.
  • Close all joint credit cards: Maybe you can’t trust yourself to not use them. Or maybe you don’t trust the other person. Either way, when you close all joint credit cards you eliminate the risk of adding to your balance.
  • Open a balance transfer credit card account: With this, you can take on your half of the balance, thus leaving the rest for your ex to figure out. This is what you want, as you’re now only responsible for yourself.

Bankruptcy is also an option for those facing mounds of debt, including joint credit card accounts. The process may allow you to discharge most of your debts, thus giving the two of you a fresh start post-divorce.

Joint credit card debt can complicate a divorce, but it doesn’t have to. When you take action early on, you can formulate a plan for tackling your debt and protecting your legal rights at the same time. And when you do that, you’ll feel better about turning your attention to other details that deserve just as much of your time.

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