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What should I do about the credit cards I share with my ex?

Often when a Springfield resident begins the process of ending their marriage through divorce they have concerns over how the property they share with their partner will be divided. In states like Massachusetts individuals may own property with their spouses or on their own. While separate and individual property is maintained by the individual owners, marital property must be divided in a fair and equitable manner.

Couples may hold certain financial assets together during marriage, such as savings accounts, retirement funds and credit cards. While couples may think to divide their accounts and other liquid assets, they may neglect to address the shared credit liabilities that they have taken on with their spouses.

For example, a person may choose to stop using a shared credit card after they have divorced their spouse. However, if that credit card remained open and the person’s ex continued to use the card for purchases, the person could still be liable for payments on the card even if they are not using it. To avoid this issue it is advisable for individuals to close credit accounts that they share with their soon-to-be ex-spouses so that they may avoid financial complications.

Agreements between ex-spouses that concern the payment of shared accounts do not generally insulate the nonpaying person from creditors’ attempts at collection because creditors are not parties to the agreements that the ex-spouses make. If a paying ex stops fulfilling their obligation to a creditor a nonpaying spouse may be contacted by that creditor for any amount due.

Closing credit accounts with an ex-partner can help individuals avoid these and other difficult post-divorce problems. It is recommended, though, that any person contemplating divorce speak with a family law attorney and financial planner to fully understand how their financial lives may be altered by ending their marriage.