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What to do about credit card debt in a divorce

When a married couple in Indiana decides to get a divorce, one thing they will have to work out is what to do about joint debt. Credit card companies are not subject to the provisions of the divorce decree. Therefore, creditors may pursue jointly held debt from one spouse if the other one does not pay even after the divorce.

The best solution is to eliminate any joint debt. This might mean paying off the debt before the divorce is final, or it could mean canceling any joint cards. If an ex-partner files for bankruptcy on debts that are still technically in the name of both spouses, creditors could come after the other spouse for interest and penalties in addition to the original debts.

Once a couple has split up, even if it is a legal separation, it's a good idea to keep track of any debts either partner incurs on a joint account. This will make it easier to divide them up during the divorce process. While it is possible to include a provision in the divorce agreement that addresses what happens if one person does not pay an agreed-upon debt, it can be costly in terms of time and money to have to return to court to address this issue.

Protecting oneself financially during a divorce is important, but soon-to-be exes may want to avoid taking unilateral financial action with shared accounts or any other assets without first consulting an attorney about what is permitted. For example, taking the money out of an account and closing it could be construed as trying to hide assets. People should also be aware that they may not be able to take a spouse off a beneficiary designation for a retirement account or other assets until the divorce is final.

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