When a married couple makes the painful decision to separate and to file for divorce, many difficult decisions must be made. At every turn, each person may need to remain highly aware of how to protect themselves against unnecessary financial losses or responsibilities. Some of these may be apparent immediately, such as when one person must share their 401K with the other person. Other issues may not arise until later, such as when a creditor tries to collect on a debt the person believed their former spouse was supposed to pay.
As explained by U.S. News and World Report, a divorce decree that stipulates one party as responsible for a joint debt may not sufficiently protect against a scenario in which the other party is pursued for repayment. A creditor considers any person named on a debt account to be liable for that debt even with a court order that assigns responsibility to only one party.
SoFi adds that it is important to pay attention to the date after which any debt incurred by each party may be considered joint debt as any purchases, cash advances or other transactions prior to that date may contribute to future issues.
Some people might attempt to be removed from an account. However, many creditors may be hesitant to allow one person’s name to be removed from an account, regardless of the terms of a divorce settlement. Instead, people may want to investigate ways to pay off debt or require the responsible partner to transfer debt to an individual account to avoid being held accountable for that debt down the road.