Outstanding debt can pose issues during divorce in California

One of the biggest stressors when it comes to going through a divorce in California is sorting out which spouse will get to keep which assets. However, a divorce can become even more complex if one party fails to abide by the obligations for repaying debt as provided in the couple’s divorce decree. A couple of tips can help a person to increase his or her chances of smoothly splitting up with their spouse.

First, it’s worth noting that creditors pay little attention to one’s divorce decree. Therefore, if two divorcing individuals have joint accounts for credit cards, they both are legally obligated to ensure that these debts are paid. This is typically true no matter what the divorce decree says.

One way to protect a credit score in the event of divorce is to find out whose names are on which accounts. If a particular credit card is in one spouse’s name and the other party is a mere authorized user on the account, it’s wise to remove this authorized user. This prevents the other person from being able to access it. If both spouses are on the account, it may be necessary to ask that a hold or freeze be placed on the other person’s card so that he or she can’t rack up new charges. Only when the balance has been paid off can the account finally be closed.

Divorce can be a highly emotional experience because people are at risk of losing their prized assets or property to the parties they are trying to divorce. An understanding of relevant laws can help a person to strive for a divorce agreement that is financially fitting for him or her. If the two individuals can’t come to a resolution at the negotiating table, court intrusion may be inevitable in California.

Source: Fox Business, "Debt and Divorce: 5 Steps to Make a Clean Credit Split", Dawn Papandrea, July 14, 2014

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