If you don't have at least a few credit cards in your wallet right now, you are among the few. The ease of use when it comes to plastic has many people dealing with high card balances, and this is a problem for anyone, but particularly those going through divorce. Parting ways requires that you and your spouse come to terms over debt, so read on to learn more about how people with credit card debt deals with this issue.
Almost all states now use the equitable distribution model to deal with property and debt issues in divorce, but a few states still use community property laws as the guiding principle. The way these two models view debt is vastly different. It should be noted that regardless of where you live, any debts you had on the day you married are yours and yours alone and should not be added into the debt calculations.
This form of debt distribution attempts to make each person responsible for their own spending habits. Here, it is the name on the account that matters. If you used your own account to buy something that both of you used and enjoyed, you must take full responsibility for that debt. If your spouse used the card to buy an item that was for you, the item belongs to you and the debt belongs to your spouse. If you had second card made for your spouse on the account, anything charged by your spouse is your responsibility.
Joint accounts can be a bit trickier to deal with. It is not common to have a joint credit card, but they do exist. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on dividing up this debt, there are two options.
1. The judge divides the joint debt 50/50 between the two of you, regardless of who charged what.
2. A forensic accountant is brought in to take a look at who actually charged what, and each person takes responsibility for that amount of the joint debt.
The dwindling number (10 at this time) of states that use the community property model of property and debt division take a simpler view on the subject. Here, the divorcing husband and wife are known as a "community." While this method of dealing with property could result in a more even playing field for those who stayed home with their children, the flip sides means that you could end up being 50% responsible for your spouse's bad spending habits.
This issue can be both complex and contentious, so speak with an attorney like Roderic H. Slayton, PC about how your debt is dealt with when you are divorcing.