I’m worried that my ex is running up charges on our... - Other Questions


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Credit Card Applications » Questions » User Questions » Other » I’m worried that my ex is running up charges on our joint credit card account. What can I do to protect...

I’m worried that my ex is running up charges on our joint credit card account. What can I do to protect myself?

Answered on | Updated on December 29th, 2011
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Divorces are unpleasant and difficult, but one of the trickiest issues to resolve is often that of any joint debts that are outstanding. While a court may issue a ruling on who owes what, creditors are not obliged to honor divorce mandates and may very well hold you accountable for any debt that was incurred jointly. It’s a prudent move to file court documentation regarding all joint credit cards and joint debt early on.

While the ideal situation would be to leave your marriage without leaving any joint debt behind, this is not always feasible. If the situation is amicable, attempt to pay off the joint card together. You could also divvy up the debt and arrange for it to be transferred to different individual cards – one in your name, on in your spouse’s.

It is, in fact, possible for creditors to switch the joint accounts of divorcing cardholders into individual accounts but there is little to motivate them to do so. The account cannot be closed unless the balance is entirely paid off. If you have any joint cards that are not carrying a balance, cancel them immediately.

Within a joint account, one person is designated as the primary account holder. If you are not the primary card holder, it is a good idea to draft a letter to the card issuing company explaining that after a specific date, you will not be responsible for any new debts charged to the account. This letter should be sent via certified mail with signature receipt, and you should keep a copy of it in your files along with documentation of postage. Make sure you keep detailed records accounting for your personal charged that you made after your split so that you can prove what’s yours.

Ultimately, your best move may be to pay the balance off on the account as soon as possible. One option is to use the funds in a joint savings account to resolve shared debts, or utilize a home equity line of credit drawn upon a jointly owned property.

Begin building credit in your own name by making bill payments on time and applying for your own credit card. Examine your credit history to get a sense of your creditworthiness.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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