Dividing marital assets is a major component of a divorce agreement, but so is dividing marital debt. When it comes to credit card debt in a Pennsylvania divorce, much depends on whether the credit cards are jointly held or only in the name of one spouse.
Credit Card Debt and Divorce
If your credit cards are jointly held, both of you are responsible for the debt, even if only one spouse charged most of the items. It is not unusual for one spouse to go on a shopping spree shortly before filing for divorce on jointly held credit cards.
You may also be liable if you are a co-signer on your spouse’s credit card, even though the credit card is not in your name, per se. However, if the credit card is only in the name of one spouse, the other spouse is generally not held liable for the debt.
If you are going through the divorce process, stop using jointly held cards and make purchases either with your own credit or debit card – not a debit card from a joint checking account – or with cash.
Paying the Debt
If you are assigned to pay credit card debt by the judge in your divorce, even if most of that debt was run up by your spouse, for best results you should pay it. Even if you think the assignment was unfair, once the determination has been made, you should pay it.
Not only will failure to pay credit card debt affect your credit rating, but the credit card company may pursue your ex for payment.
If that is the case, your ex can then sue you for divorce decree violation, and you may find yourself back in court and possibly racking up more legal fees.
Credit Card Rewards and Divorce
When couples have only minimal credit card rewards on jointly held accounts, fighting over them is a waste of time. However, if both spouses travel a lot and racked up hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles, that is a different story.
The first step is reading the reward program’s terms and conditions, which may decide the matter. Some programs make it clear that rewards are not transferable to a spouse in divorce proceedings. Few, if any, programs allow cashing out of rewards.
Try to work out an agreement where you and your spouse split the rewards points in half. If that does not work, and you have children, perhaps you can agree that the points are used for the children to visit either parent or grandparents during holidays or vacations.
If your divorce is particularly contentious, and you cannot agree to much of anything, let alone credit card debts and rewards, it is a good idea to seek skilled legal help.
Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Ensure Fair Division of Debts and Assets
If you are planning to divorce, to get the outcome you most desire, you need the services of the experienced Chester County divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or contact us online. From our offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients from the surrounding areas, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.