Spanish and Arabic translation available | 

What Happens To a Joint Credit Card When You Get Divorced?

If you have a joint credit card and you are getting a divorce, it probably seems like canceling them is the logical thing to do. It is, but you also have to take some additional actions to protect yourself, your finances, and your credit. Consulting with our Morris County, NJ divorce lawyers and taking some of the following steps can be wise moves.

What Happens to the Debt on a Joint Credit Card?

Even if you close out a credit card, the debt on it is still going to need to be paid. Debt is considered much like assets in a marriage. If the debt was built up during the marriage, it is often split between both parties. If one person clearly has a larger share of the debt, they may have to pay more.

No matter what type of arrangement is made to pay off the debt, make sure that it is in writing. Otherwise, you could do your part in paying off the debt and later realize that your former spouse has done nothing. If you have an agreement in writing, you can go to court and deal with this. If not, you might just end up at the mercy of a collections agency.

How Do I Make Sure My Spouse No Longer Has Access to a Card?

One problem we have noticed is that, in the age of digital wallets, shopping websites that store your credit card information, and smartphone payment systems like Apple Pay, it can be difficult to ensure that your former spouse no longer has access to a card. You could watch them cut up the credit card and there is no guarantee that they cannot still use it and rack up a “revenge debt” to make your life a little more difficult.

So you need to be sure that a joint credit card is entirely canceled. If you were using a card that was in your name and added your spouse as an authorized user, you need to take them off of the card. Even after that, it might be wise to have the card reissued with a new number so that you do not have to worry about them still having access to it.

When Should I Keep a Joint Account Open?

In some cases, a joint credit card account can remain open even during and after divorce proceedings. In some cases, one or both spouses are reliant on this card. In others, the card is mostly used for expenses relating to the children. If you decide to keep an account open, make sure that there are rules about the spending and who pays the bills, and make sure that this agreement is in writing.

Consult a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about joint accounts or anything else related to divorces, it is wise to consult an attorney. Contact the experienced New Jersey divorce attorneys at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark and get the answers you are looking for.