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How divorce can affect credit card debt

When a marriage ends in California or elsewhere around the country, there are a number of potentially emotional issues to address. Dealing with finances during the divorce process can lead to conflict among the parties involved. One particular aspect of finances that may be overlooked in discussions is how credit card debt will be treated. However, according to a personal finance website, this issue should be addressed in divorce proceedings.

The couple going through a divorce needs to determine how any credit card debt will be paid. A decision should be made regarding whether the debt will be viewed jointly or individually. Credit card companies only care that they will be paid back, not which spouse incurred the debt. If one party agrees to pay the debt, but does not do so, the other spouse may be responsible for it if the debt was held jointly. However, in community property states like California, both parties are jointly responsible for the debt, regardless of who incurred it.

There are some steps to consider to help an individual's financial situation. Experts advise to avoid credit card debt in the first place. The average credit card balance per household is over $16,000, and the average amount of interest owed is more than $2,500. It might also be beneficial to establish separate credit card accounts to avoid any question of who owes what.

Canceling unused cards is also wise, so that no future joint debt can appear on the account. If one party is considering bankruptcy, the other spouse may be responsible for any previous joint debt. Therefore, if bankruptcy is a consideration, it may be beneficial for both ex-spouses to seek protection.

When going through a divorce, a California divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance throughout the process. A knowledgeable lawyer will work with clients to address their specific situations and needs. The legal team will make every effort to help clients achieve the best outcome possible in the proceedings.

Source: fool.com, "Just Got Divorced? Here's What Happens to Your Credit Card Debt", Selena Maranjian, Nov. 2, 2017

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