Credit Card Debt and Divorce

As anyone who has endured the difficulty of a divorce can attest, there’s more to ending a marriage than just getting different addresses. In the eyes of your creditors, until you’re financially divorced, you remain equally responsible for all debts incurred during the marriage. It is imperative that you attempt to come to an understanding with your former spouse regarding the debts for which each of you will be responsible.

Experts on rebuilding personal credit recommend writing a letter to these creditors, informing them of your divorce, and which of you is now the sole responsible party. Next, close all previously held joint accounts, assign which of the two of you is responsible, and open new individual accounts.

Closing these joint accounts doesn’t just prevent future charges for which you could be considered jointly responsible. It also demonstrates responsibility on your part in the eyes of creditors. Finally, get new credit cards, which only you can use, to establish new–and independent–lines of credit.

It is very important to remember that because credit is constantly evolving, your behavior today may very well determine your credit worthiness for the next several years. Regardless of the emotional upheaval you may be experiencing, it is critical to stay on top of the bills for which you are responsible. Pay on time and pay in full. It can be a comfort to know that even if it feels like everything else is a bit out of control, you’re taking care of the one area of your life that can make you not only financially independent, but emotionally independent as well.