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Divorce and Credit Card Debt Doesn't Have to Break You

Mar 27, 2008
Divorce can be a trying time at best. And, when you bring finances and credit card debt into it, it's overwhelming. Instead of thinking for one household, you have to plan for two. It will be easier for spouses that work together during this transition than for those who fight for every penny.

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally traumatic time. Creating a plan to split assets and credit card debt will help tremendously to ease that trauma. Financial companies will consider that any debts that one person in a marriage incurrs belongs to both. It will take time to notify everyone about the changes that will occur.

The plan that is put in place to handle credit card debt must allow for an equitable division of those debts. Both parties will likely suffer if the decision is allowed to be made by the courts. This is especially true if child support issues need to be considered. So, it is best to have a plan in place before divorce proceedings begin. It is not necessarily best to have a 50-50 split. A lot will depend upon the income of each party and how much of the debt was incurred by each. If there is only one breadwinner in the family, it will be more difficult to split the debt fairly.

In cases where there is massive debt, there are even more problems. Debt such as this will probably necessitate the sale of the family home. The proceeds from the sale would go to pay off all debt. Any remaining funds is usually divided between the couple. If there is no family home that can be sold, a plan will need to be put into place for either a loan or a bankruptcy action. There may also be retirement accounts that can be liquidated and other household furnishings that can be sold to reduce the debt.

It may sometimes be necessary to contact the credit card company to let them know about the divorce and your plans on how to pay their balance. The company may be willing to divide the balance between you by creating a new account for an agreed-upon split for the other spouse. It is best to negotiate with the credit card company before divorce proceedings have been started.

Another option may be for both people to open brand-new credit card accounts and pay their fair share to the original balance. This is usually done as a balance transfer, however, usually a credit company will provide checks so that you can write one to the original company.

If there is more than one credit card to be dealt with, each spouse could take on the ones that would add up to their agreed-upon balance.

When both people in the marriage have a plan in place before the dissolution of that marriage, a lot of the problems that come from it can be reduced. Even though there can be a lot of recriminations and arguing between the couple, a solution can usually be worked out. Some sort of plan can be helpful even if you can't come up with the total solution. Attorney fees can be cut drastically when a plan to set up beforehand.
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