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How does divorce affect credit card debt?

When you are going through a divorce, you likely wonder who will get what assets. You might not even think about what will happen to the debts you and your spouse racked up during your marriage. While you might not think about those debts, they can prove to be a very big hurdle after the divorce is finalized. Our readers in Pennsylvania might be interested in learning just how much marital debts can haunt them after the divorce is finalized.

What happens to debt during a divorce?

Debts aren't discharged as part of a divorce, so either you or your ex will be responsible for paying off those debts. The way the debt incurred during your marriage actually depends on the type of debts you have.

What are the types of debts?

There are two types of credit accounts -- individual and joint. Since Pennsylvania isn't a community property state, individual credit accounts are the sole responsibility of the person who opened the account. This means your individual accounts are your responsibility and your ex's accounts are his or her responsibilities. Joint accounts are the responsibility of both you and your spouse.

What happens to joint accounts in a divorce?

While the court can assign debts, the creditors don't have to abide by those assignments since they aren't a party in the divorce. You can ask for creditors to close a joint account, which can be done at the request of only one spouse. You can ask that joint accounts you are liable for per the court be transferred to individual accounts.

Because your ex not making payments on a joint account can hurt your credit, it is vital for you to work with someone who can help you determine how to handle these types of accounts. You don't want your ex's bad choices to affect your future.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce" Nov. 18, 2014

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