Divorce requires dividing shared marital assets; if you have joint debt accounts, you may also split those with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Taking steps to protect your personal accounts may help you to have credit available after your divorce.
To prevent your spouse from increasing your shared debts, you may start by ordering a credit report. According to CBNC, differentiating between joint accounts and accounts with your spouse added as an authorized user may reveal how much liability you have for paying shared debts.
How may shared debts divide between two spouses?
Joint accounts with both spouses’ names on them may affect your divorce settlement. As noted by Experian.com, spouses have equal liability for paying outstanding credit card balances. If you co-signed on a secured loan or mortgage, you and your spouse also share responsibility for making payments.
If purchases on a joint credit card contributed to your shared household expenses, a Pennsylvania family court judge may require its fair division. Saved receipts, however, may prove that one spouse used the card for his or her separate property, such as for a separate business. This may require a balloon payment to pay the balance during a divorce; both spouses, however, must agree on closing a joint account.
What might happen to my credit score after a divorce?
After a divorce, you may experience a temporary drop in your credit score. According to Debt.com, 38% of survey respondents who separated from their spouse found their credit score dropped by at least 50 points in 2019. Rebuilding a credit score may require closing joint accounts and paying down the balances.
Couples with joint accounts may divide their debt fairly in a divorce with a shared payment schedule. You may also work out an arrangement to “trade” other shared assets in exchange for a spouse agreeing to pay joint debts.