Family Law Library

Using Credit Cards after Separation and Divorce

Using Credit Cards after Separation and Divorce

 There are a number of practical steps to take regarding your credit cards after you separate.

  1. Write down the date you actually separated. Even better, send an email to your spouse or partner stating clearly that “on May 1, 2014, we officially separated”. This date may become important later on when and if debts need to be divided.   If your spouse incurred the debt after the date of separation, the court may hold him responsible for it when dividing up property.
  2. If possible, get rid of joint credit cards. If you are the primary card holder – great!  You can lower the credit limit, which prevents your spouse from going crazy with the card and running up more debt.  The best option is to cancel the card all together, if the company allows it.  If your name is on the account, no matter who runs up the debt, you are also responsible.
  3. Make sure to print out all of your balances from your credit card account, including all purchases and payments. Even if you are held accountable, when the time comes to draw up a property settlement, you may be able to have these listed as your spouse’s debt and deducted from his share of the assets.
  4. Discuss with your lawyer signing a legal separation agreement. Written correctly, this may limit your liability for your spouses’ debts, including credit card debts.