As a married couple, there’s a good chance that you have at least one joint credit card. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it could turn into a point of contention in the event of a divorce.
There are many questions and concerns to address as you prepare for the divorce process, including how you should manage joint credit card debt. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are two basic ideas you can work from.
1. Pay it Off Before You Divorce
This is easier said than done, as you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must be on the same page. If you want to pay off your joint credit card debt but your spouse is opposed, you’ll find it challenging to make progress.
Conversely, if you’re able to reach an agreement to do this, discuss the details. Primarily, answer the question of where you’ll get the money to pay off the debt. You’ll want it to come from jointly owned funds, such as a savings account.
2. Split the Debt Down the Middle
If you don’t want to pay off the balance before your divorce — or don’t have the money to do so — your other option is to split it down the middle. So, if you have $10,000 in debt, both of you use a balance transfer credit card to take on $5,000. At that point, you’re only responsible for your portion.
Questions to Answer
As you compare the two options above, you’re likely to have questions. Some of the most common include:
- What is your total balance?
- What is the interest rate attached to the balance?
- Do you have any credit card rewards?
- Are you current or late on payments?
The answers to these questions will help you better formulate the right strategy moving forward. You don’t want to make a mistake upfront that could cause you financial harm in the future.
Tip: if there are questions you can’t answer, consult with a financial planner and/or your attorney.
It’s natural for financial challenges to arise during divorce. In fact, this is something nearly every divorcing couple runs into. It’s not easy, but there are steps you can take to handle anything that comes your way.
If you’re moving toward divorce and know that credit card debt could be a sticking point, learn more about your options and set a path for moving forward.