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From The Experts

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From Megan Thomas: If I file for divorce, yet still have some joint credit accounts with my husband that I haven't yet closed, am I responsible for any debt he incurs during this time? Also, what is the smartest financial move for me: saving up some money and stashing it away, or working hard to pay down the debt we have together so I'm not burdened with it during the divorce?

Stacy Francis writes:

Don't let your ex ruin your credit and don't stick your head in the sand!

Once you've identified your debt, of course, your main goal is to keep it from getting any worse. The easy and quick way to do this is to close any joint credit card accounts prior to becoming separated or as soon as possible after separation. At the very least, you should refrain from using any joint cards once you are separated and open up your own credit card accounts.

If you and your spouse are cooperating with each other, you may be able to agree on a card or two that will remain in effect for designated purposes subject to designated limits on spending.

What happens if you keep the card open and your spouse makes a barrage of new charges? Generally, your husband will be held responsible for any debt that he incurs after the date of your separation.

Don't forget that if your husband does not make the payments on this joint card, you will be held responsible. Credit card companies want their money, and if your husband is not able to pay them, then they will certainly come knocking on your door. This could wreak havoc on your finances and your credit report.

The smartest move is to make sure that the minimum payments for any debt that you or your spouse have are being made on time throughout the divorce. You want to make sure to maintain a good credit score before, during, and after divorce.

Once you have paid the minimums on your credit cards, I recommend that you open up an individual savings or investment account solely in your name after separation. Only deposit income earned after separation into this account. This will be considered a separate asset. However there is some grey area when it comes to income earned during the marriage. For example, a bonus earned while you were married but paid after separation is determined to have been earned during the marriage and is partially classified as a joint asset.

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18 comments

  • Comment Link LISSA Wednesday, 30 September 2015 16:44 posted by LISSA

    IF THE JUDGE ORDERED MY EX HUSBAND RESPONSIBLE FOR A CREDIT CARD HE TOOK OUT IN BOTH OUR NAMES, HOW DO I FIGHT THIS?

  • Comment Link CarolAnn Clement Wednesday, 25 June 2014 18:00 posted by CarolAnn Clement

    I was let go from a career that I loved. My husband wrote the most devesating letters to my Admistrator and CEO using language that I never use He worte this like it was comming from me. I am christan and never would use that to anyone. I had a complete nervous break down and confirmed by a doctor. I was getting very sick with health problems around this time. I never missed a day of work in 5 years without calling as soon as I could with a doctors note. He took over everything. He did not pay any of my bills credit cards that I had in my own name. He forged my name to get acess to my 401K and all savings. I had more a 14 than I do now. He sold my car. I don't even have a debt card. He cut them all up, like it would just go away. I am questioned about what I what from the dollar store. I still need care and can't drive. We have been married for 18 years. Last year I found out he was gay and now he spends all time with him. I can't get a number to call him. He changes it all the time. I miss doctors appointments and getting medication. I can't walk and have been on the floor up to 2 days. I may never be able to work again. I was a Alzhimers care giver. I only go to the doctor, hospital. I can make it though a full chuch sevice. I would love it if anyone has any prayers to lead me in the right direction? My forgive my wording my eyesight is failing me too. Thank you

  • Comment Link Freebird Thursday, 18 July 2013 18:41 posted by Freebird

    I still wonder to this day why lawyers can't tell us what's going to happen AFTER the divorce!! As we are writing up the Marital Settlement Agreement, why can't a lawyer explain that if you have agreed to who's getting what 'loans' then each of us has to go ahead and get those loans refinanced prior to the agreement being released to be signed off by the Judge!?!?!?! Because after it is signed, sealed and delivered.....all bets are off!! No one has to do anything! And that's what happens most of the time to one or both of the parties. In my case, I was the one who got snookered! He was so worried about ME not making the house payment and ruining HIS credit and couldn't emphasize enough how important refinancing is.....when it was HIM who wouldn't refinance and HIM who ruined MY credit. Now there's nothing I can do about it! It's at the point of no return and I'm doomed forever I guess. No one can advise me of anything else left to do. It's really maddening!

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 16 February 2013 09:27 posted by Guest

    I just ran into this: I just ran into this situation. Mine is much worse, however this part was easy. I called the credit card company and expained just what you did. They acknowledged the fact that I was an authorized buyer, but not responsible for the card. So, I had my name removed and requested the reporting be removed from my credit report as well. The credit card company was great and all was good.

    Now, I am still dealing with 2 loans that are not being paid. My ex has defulted on both and the creditors can not locate him to at least repo. So, not good as my credit was excellent prior to this appearing. Also, not good when you have an ex as a dead beat dad who not only doesn't see his child who I may add is an amazing young lady, doesn't pay court ordered child support in addition to not paying down his debt. Makes it tough when one is trying very hard to start all over! Never trust the fact that they promise to refinance. Even if it is stipulated in you divorce decree. Note to self....... The banks don't care what your decree says.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 18 December 2012 16:18 posted by Guest

    RE: I still have a joint account with my ex husband: No matter what he says or signs saying he takes responsibility for in terms of accounts, loans, lines of credit and credit cards- if you co sign then you will still take the credit hit if he defaults, refuses to pay, maxes out or goes bankrupt.
    You guys are seperated and its in his best interests to learn (even if its the hard way) to take care of his own finances. You shouldn't risk your own financial health for his (or anyone else's).

    Good luck!

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 03 November 2012 09:48 posted by Guest

    Ex-husbands credit card: When my ex and I were married he had a credit card and put me on it as an authorized user. I never physically had a card in my possession and he has failed to make the payments on the card. How do I get this card off of my credit report?? I never asked him or told him to put on this card as an authorized user. Since he has failed to make any payments in the last 90 days my creidt score has dropped tremendously.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:09 posted by Guest

    How to prevent from ex from ordering credit card in my name: My wife and I are currently seperated but I suspect that she is in the process of ordering a credit card in my name. What can I do to prevent this?

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 15 October 2012 22:55 posted by Guest

    Question about a credit card he obtained in my name: I am currently going through a very messy divorce including protective orders, mediation, and being almost homeless. I agreed to several things during the mediation just to get the misery over with and that includes losing any right to see my beloved yellow lab that I raised from a puppy. My spouse got on online credit card in my name while we were still together in order to pay for the large flat screen tv and surround sound speakers etc. During the mediation he said that he had paid off the bes* bu* card but I still kept receiving collection letters and getting major hits on my credit report.
    Today he said that he paid off his bbuy credit card and that the one in my name was my problem, thing is I left after he bought all the things and now he is says he will bring to court paying my car insurance since I left along with the cell phone bill (that was only in his name), I got a new one right after I left and under dire circumstances. I have not been back to "my" house since a year ago next month and still only have the two pairs of jeans and what family mementos I could get out with when he was out of town with my dog.
    He has lied in accordance with the mediation results by trying to trick me into signing a divorce decree that took my lawnmower and treadmill, he has literally everything else. Please anyone advise me as to my options, seems my lawyer can't find the time to call me back.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 18 July 2012 09:04 posted by Guest

    Schizo ex: It is illegal to put the utility bills in her name, she is under the age to be legally responsible & it is fraudulant for him to put them in her name. You should call all of those utility companies and let them know. He may end up being charged with fraud, but, he is the ex so who cares, he did it to himself & he isnt caring about your childs future at all. If there is an order for support he may be required to pay for her health insurance through work if it is available. If there is not an order for support, perhaps you should obtain one. If the bills have your name on them, have her name taken off, and his too, he is your ex, other than your child, you shouldn't have anymore ties with him like these as he could ruin your credit.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 15 March 2012 18:03 posted by Guest

    ex-husband not paying credit card: My ex-husband during the course of our marriage took out a $30,000 line of credit. I did not know about it but he did it online and put my name as a co-signer. He deposited some of the money into our joint account. I let my ex do all the online banking and bills and was totally unaware of this. When we went through our divorce he took on the credit card bill and also signed a notarized statement admitting to taking out the credit card and handling the money without my knowledge. I thought it would be easy to get the card out of my name but two years later I am still facing ruin with a poor credit score. I reported fraud on this account but they said that because we were married and money went into the joint account I am legally tied to it. I never used that card or benefited from it. I feel like I am being punished for something I did not do. Is there anything I can do? I can't afford to pay a $30,000 bill and I feel that is horrible that I should have to when I never even knew about it. Can anyone please help me? Thank you.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 16 February 2012 17:42 posted by Guest

    Ex wife opened credit cards without ex husband knowing...: How do I repair my credit rating once my wife opened credit cards without my knowledge and then made late paments and went overlimit with them?

    My credit score SUCKS now. Ive just had twins with my new wife and can't buy a house....what can I do?

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 11 January 2012 17:33 posted by Guest

    I still have a joint account with my ex husband: I have a question. I recently got divorced and closed the joint account I had with my ex husband. He has gambling problems and he ask me to reopen it, so he can have a back up if he need to pay bills (I helped him before with this, but we don't have any credit cards...). Is it dangerous doing that. Can this hurt me in the future?

    Thank you!

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:00 posted by Guest

    Credit Questions: My ex-husband took out a number of credit cards behind my back in both my name and his to use online for various purposes. I just recently got a copy of my credit report and there was a lot on there that I hadn’t seen before. It seems like some people online say to dispute the mistakes and others say not to dispute them because it could hurt your credit even more? Does anyone know which is right and how I should proceed without damaging my credit more than he already has? Will that help me at all in proving that I didn’t apply for all those cards? Any help is really appreciated. Thanks.

  • Comment Link Guest Sunday, 25 October 2009 16:52 posted by Guest

    clearing my credt information: My X has a charge account that he requested a balance transfer to (2 weeks before we sperated) from an account he had before we were married. He did not provide my name as a user of this account. We seperated and are now divorced. He defaulted 2 years after the seperation and 5 months after the divorce. The write off is showing on my credit reports. His new wife's address is showing on my credit report. I called the credit card company (which I have an account in good standing with) and had his/the information corrected 6 months ago. Today I requested another credit report and it still shows. This is the only bad information on my complete report. I have recently received information from 2 of my credt card companies they are raising my rates and going to start charging rates, and have stated this is because of information from my credit report/ratings.
    What can I do to get this corrected/removed from my history?

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 19 October 2009 03:27 posted by Guest

    where's my old house in our new house: I sold a house for profit that was in my name only.
    the proceed's were then used to buy a house for us in my name only.
    that house was sold for profit and the proceeds were used to buy a house in both of our names.
    where is the equity from the old houses sold for profit?
    do i stand a chance to recoup this money in division of the marital house?

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 19 October 2009 03:19 posted by Guest

    debt: my wife switched her previous marriage child support money from a debt payment (loan in my name only,
    it was set up so the child support money comming in would pay the loan payment, consolidation for our marital debt) to her savings account.
    the loan is in default now because my income alone cannot support the payment.
    is my wife half liable for this marital debt?

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 19 October 2009 03:11 posted by Guest

    divorce and stolen tax return: my wife threw me out when i was sick and just out of the hospital. she put our $6000. tax return in her sole buisiness account, and wont give me half. I had to move out of state with relatives to have a home and re-coup from my illness. (she knows where i am) she disconnected the phone and has disowned me.
    is the tax return 1/2 mine?

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 18 June 2009 16:50 posted by Guest

    divorce and credit: My EX- HUSBAND has flipped and turned into a Schizo he actually tried to get back at me by discontinuing our daughter's life and health insurance. Also all the bills that his name is on, he put them in our daughters name. Our child is thirteen, now i'm not sure but isn't this illegal?