Everyone knows that credit card debt is one of the worst types of debt to have, but dealing with this expense during a Pasadena divorce can be especially challenging. To keep your credit history intact, you must separate your finances from your ex as soon as possible.
Credit card accounts can either be joint or individual accounts. A joint account is listed in both of your names. It appears on both of your credit reports and you are equally liable for the debt, regardless of how it is distributed in the divorce settlement. This means, for example, your ex could charge up thousands of dollars from a fancy vacation and refuse to pay the bill or declare bankruptcy to legally walk away from the debt. Then, you'd be held liable and have damage to your own credit rating.
Joint credit card accounts can be closed at the request of either spouse because both parties have equal rights to the account. A joint account may not necessarily be converted into an individual account, however. The credit card company may require you to reapply if you wish to have an individual account. Whether or not you're accepted will depend on the strength of your own credit history.
When closing a joint account, be ready to send a certified letter notifying the credit card company of your divorce. Ask for a current account statement and request that the account be placed on inactive status until the balance is fully paid off.
An individual credit card account may have an authorized user. This person is allowed to make charges on the account, but does not have legal responsibility for the debt. If your ex is listed as an authorized user on your account, you will want to change this as soon as possible.
After your divorce is finalized, many Pasadena divorce attorneys recommend that you make a habit of checking your credit report regularly. You want to make sure that you catch any problems associated with joint accounts from your marriage as soon as possible.