Dealing with Credit Card Debt during Your Divorce


If you are seeking a Pasadena divorce, you might be surprised to learn that credit card companies do not have to abide by the terms of your divorce court order. It does not matter who agrees to make payments on the account. As long as both of you have your names on the account as joint creditors, the credit card company is legally free to come after either one of you to make sure the debt is repaid. And if the debt is not repaid, both of you will see your credit scores drop.

Sometimes, people file for bankruptcy after divorce because they've encountered multiple financial problems as they try to get back on their feet. Bankruptcy wipes out credit card debt, but only for the person who files. If your ex agrees to make payments on a joint account and later files for bankruptcy, he no longer has a legal obligation to make the payments. You, however, would still be on the hook for the debt. You would be able to sue your ex for violating the terms of your settlement agreement, but the legal fees incurred as the result of this action often make it cost-prohibitive.

The best way to deal with credit card debt during a divorce is to simply pay off the balance on any joint cards shared by you and your spouse. However, you should never borrow from a retirement account or use your savings to pay off credit card debt unless you have permission from your lawyer. Large transfers of this type might be considered a dissipation of assets by the court, which could cause problems during your settlement negotiations.

If you can't pay off a credit card account, you can ask the company to convert it from a joint account to an individual account. The company is not obligated to accommodate your request, but some creditors will switch account types as a courtesy. If the account type can't be changed, your best option is to have the account closed so no additional charges can be made.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions regarding the best way to handle credit card debt during a divorce, please contact our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena divorce attorneys are eager to assist clients with all aspects of the divorce process.