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Are your spouse’s credit cards your problem after divorce?

When a couple chooses to get divorced, knowing how to handle a spouse's credit card debt held within the marriage is often very difficult. While this is normal, that does not diminish how vitally important it is to make sure a person understands his or her relationship to their spouse's debt before he or she rushes into the divorce process.

Unless handled very carefully, debt held within the marriage can follow divorced spouses for years after the marriage is officially dissolved. This is especially true of credit card debt. If you face the prospect of divorcing a spouse with significant credit card debt, you may want to begin preparing to deal with this debt sooner rather than later.

You may find that some patient negotiating convinces your spouse to take your name off of these debts, granting you some modest protection. Unfortunately, if you cannot remove your name from the loans and cannot avoid taking some of the debt in the divorce, then you may have to consider more extreme options.

Often, bankruptcy the most effective way to get rid of unmanageable credit card debt, especially debt that you should not have to carry. Depending on the nature of your finances and the size of the debt, you may qualify for more than one type of bankruptcy.

The good news is that you don't have to drown in your spouse's financial mistakes forever. You may qualify for a bankruptcy procedure that can discharge some or all of the debt, granting you a fresh start in your new life. An attorney can help you so that you fully understand your options and know how to protect yourself and your future.

Source: Findlaw, "Family Debt After Divorce," accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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