When a married couple makes the tough choice to get a divorce, they must embark on the process of figuring out how to disentangle their very jointly entwined lives. One facet of this includes determining who will get what from their marital estate from treasured heirlooms to their home to their financial assets and investments. Another part of a property division settlement is determining who will be responsible for what debt that the couple shares.
As explained by Money Management International, divorcing couples should try to prevent any joint debt accounts from remaining active after their divorce is final. If this happens, both parties can still be viewed as financially liable for the debt in the eye of the creditor, even if a divorce decree assigns the responsibility to only one spouse. If that person misses any payment or makes late payments, the creditor can report such action on the credit report for both persons. The lender can also pursue repayment from both spouses.
Value Penguin indicates that it may be possible to remove one person’s name from an account in some cases. If this is not possible, it may be best for the person responsible for a previously joint debt to transfer that debt to a new account in their name only. In fact, the other party might consider requiring that to protect themselves down the road.
Once a couple separates, they should stop using any joint credit cards or amassing any other debt on joint accounts. Each person should also create their own new logins to financial accounts, so the other person does not have such access.