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What can you do about joint credit card debt in divorce?

Going through a divorce will prompt you to closely review your finances. In addition to your assets, pay close attention to any debt you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

For example, joint credit card debt is extremely common among married couples. If you're bogged down with this debt and heading toward divorce, here are some strategies to consider:

  • Pay off the debt before divorce: If you have the financial means to do so, pay off your joint credit card debt in full so that you don't have to worry about dividing it during the divorce process. For instance, you may be able to use money from your savings account to eliminate this debt.
  • Use a balance transfer credit card: Once you split up the debt onto separate cards, you can then manage it however you best see fit.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: If you decide to split the balance, cancel the original joint credit card. This ensures that neither you nor the other individual is able to use it.
  • File for bankruptcy: If you qualify, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the idea of having the debt discharged. Remember, you'll need to file for bankruptcy before you divorce.

In a perfect world, you would head into the divorce process without any joint debt. But in the real world, most divorcing couples find that they have many types of debt that require their attention.

Once you make a list of your assets and debts, you'll feel more confident in your ability to formulate a comprehensive strategy and protect your legal rights throughout the process.

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