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Is credit card debt getting in the way of your divorce?

Once you decide to divorce, it's in your best interest to make a checklist of all your assets and debts. It can take some time to do this, but the information you collect will put you in a much better position as the process begins to unfold.

While most people have no problem focusing on matters of property division, which is associated with assets they will receive, they don't spend nearly as much time on their joint debts. Credit card debt is an area deserving of attention.

A few practicals

If credit card debt is getting in the way of your divorce, there are a few things you should and shouldn't do in the near future:

  • Set a goal to eliminate all joint debt before moving forward with divorce. This is easier said than done, but you can try.
  • Look into the possibility of paying off your credit card balances. If both individuals agree, it can be nice to get the debt off your plate.
  • Take advantage of balance transfers, if appropriate. If you're unable to pay off your debt in full, divide it in half so both individuals can transfer it to a credit card in his or her own name.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards. This protects both parties. You don't want the other person using a shared card to make unauthorized purchases.
  • Keep records of your charges. If you still have joint credit cards, keep close track of every expense you're responsible for. Also, keep credit card statements in a safe place.
  • Don't make rash decisions about debt relief. If you have excessive debt, consider the benefits of filing for bankruptcy before you divorce. This doesn't work for every couple, but it's one of the better ways to potentially eliminate joint debt before moving forward with a divorce.

Protect yourself

If you know what to do and what actions to avoid, you should be able to safeguard your interests with regard to credit cards and other debts. If the other person is making things difficult for you, don't hesitate to take action to protect your finances and legal rights.

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