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Your divorce decree doesn't matter to your credit card company

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You and your spouse are getting divorced. Before the split, you racked up $20,000 in debt on a credit card. Your now ex says he or she will pay it off after the divorce; it's no problem.

If your ex follows through, great. However, if he or she fails to pay, you can still expect to get phone calls from the company or a collections agency.

You can tell them that you're divorced, but that doesn't matter if it was a joint account. To them, you are just two people who borrowed money together. You still owe that money. If one person can't or won't pay it back, they'll contact the other person to get it. You're still liable.

Now, there are ways around it. Start by legally splitting up the debt while you divide assets. Don't just take a handshake deal. Get it in writing.

However, that's often not enough. The best things you can do are to either pool your assets and pay the card off or to get the debt off of that joint account. Have your ex take out a new account and transfer the balance. This way, the debt in your name is paid off and the new debt is really just in your ex's name.

If you want to divide the debt, you can both start personal accounts and split it up on two new cards. The goal is to close all joint accounts that link you to your ex.

As you can see, divorce isn't always as straightforward as you may have assumed, so you must know your legal rights.

Source: Credit Cards, "Dividing credit card debt in divorce," Amy E. Buttell, accessed Dec. 08, 2017

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