Using credit cards to cover expenses is a standard practice in many American households. In fact, many families carry a balance forward from month-to-month and, therefore, have a noteworthy level of credit card debt that they need to address.
Credit card debt can easily strain a marital relationship, and it can also make a divorce more acrimonious. For some families, credit card balances may become the source of the most intense and significant disputes during the divorce process. These are some of the primary issues that credit card debt can cause for those who are preparing to end their marriages.
1. Disputes about financial responsibility
Credit card debt often causes issues during the negotiation process early in divorce. When spouses try to talk about how to divide their property and financial obligations, what they owe in credit card debt becomes a sticking point.
One spouse may insist that they will not pay for the other’s shopping habits or extramarital affairs. Other times, a lower-earning spouse may insist that they have no means of assuming and repaying the debts from the marriage. Spouses may argue about what debts they have to divide with one another and also how to share those responsibilities fairly.
2. Financial misconduct after the divorce
It is common practice to freeze credit cards in the early stages of divorce so that neither spouse can add to the balance due. The spouses reach a settlement designating one of the two of them as responsible for specific debts.
Unfortunately, someone ordered to pay a debt in a divorce will not always do so. They could instead file bankruptcy after falling behind on the debt. A court order saying one spouse should pay the account won’t prevent another judge from ruling in favor of a creditor against the spouse who didn’t take on the debt in the divorce. People may need to protect themselves against the possibility of a spouse defaulting on a debt after divorce and harming their finances and credit in the process.
Individuals who recognize the challenges involved in dividing their obligations and property will have an easier divorce coming up with good solutions for their needs. Speaking with a legal professional about debt-related matters may end up being key to an individual’s protection during divorce-related property division proceedings.