Serving Indiana Since 1994

How credit card balances are handled in a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2021 | Divorce

Indiana is an equitable distribution state, which means that joint assets are divided based on who may need them more. In many cases, joint debts will be divided based on who has the means to repay them. If you were the breadwinner during the marriage, there is a chance that you might be required to pay the majority of joint credit card balances in a final divorce settlement.

A credit card company may come after either spouse

It’s important to note that the terms of a cardholder agreement supersede the language of a divorce decree. This means that you could be liable for an entire joint credit card balance if your spouse fails to pay his or her share. A credit card company may garnish your wages, file a lawsuit or take other steps to obtain the money it’s owed. It may be possible to limit your liability by transferring any amount that you’re required to repay to a separate account. After the transfer occurs, you can take your name off of the joint account.

You may be liable for the debt even if you didn’t use the card

Let’s say that your spouse used a joint credit card to buy clothes, shoes or other items for his or her own benefit. Although you didn’t actually purchase those items yourself, you may still be held responsible for paying off any outstanding balance on a joint card.

However, your divorce attorney may be able to include language in a final settlement that requires the other spouse to make payments. If he or she fails to do so, it may be possible to take legal action against that person. It’s worth noting that you typically won’t be liable for any credit card debt that is in your spouse’s name only.

If you are going through the process of divorcing your spouse, it may be a good idea to do so with the help of an attorney. He or she may be able to structure a divorce settlement that minimizes your liability for any debts accrued during the marriage.