Divorce is a difficult process that involves many decisions, including how to divide marital assets and debts. Marital debt can include credit cards, loans, mortgages, and other debts that were incurred during the marriage. In New Jersey, marital debt is divided equitably during a divorce, which means that each spouse will be responsible for paying a portion of the debt. So, what’s the best way to address joint credit cards, especially if one spouse has been irresponsible with the couple’s assets?
Addressing Joint Accounts
When it comes to the division of assets and debts during divorce, it is crucial to keep in mind that both parties should not only focus on acquiring assets but also take responsibility for their share of the debts. In many cases, one party may have accumulated more debt than the other, which could affect the division of assets.
It’s important to understand that New Jersey law requires equitable distribution of assets and debts, which means that the division is not necessarily equal but fair. This means that the court will consider the contributions of both parties to the accumulation of assets and debts during the marriage, including factors like income, property, and the length of the marriage.
Even if one party did not work outside the home, they may have contributed in other ways to the family’s finances and the accumulation of assets, such as taking care of children or managing household finances. In such cases, the court may award a greater share of assets to the non-working spouse while also considering the distribution of debts.
If you and your spouse have joint credit cards, you will need to address these accounts during the divorce process. It is important to understand that joint credit card debt is considered marital debt, and it will be divided equitably during the divorce. This means that both you and your spouse will be responsible for paying off the joint credit card debt.
Protecting Your Credit Score
It is also important to note that if you are an authorized user on your spouse’s credit card, you may be held responsible for the debt on that card, even if you did not make any charges. If your spouse continues to use that card, it will also show a higher credit utilization rate for you, which can lower your credit score.
To protect yourself, some financial experts recommend that you remove yourself as an authorized user from your spouse’s credit cards as soon as possible. This can be done by contacting the credit card company and requesting to be removed from the account.
Another important consideration when dealing with joint credit cards during a divorce is whether to close the accounts. Closing a joint credit card account can have a significant impact on your credit score, as it can affect your credit utilization ratio and decrease the length of your credit history. However, if you leave the account open, your spouse could continue to make charges and increase the balance, which would impact your credit score and your ability to obtain credit in the future.
One option is to transfer the balance of the joint credit card to a new account that is solely in your name. This can help you avoid any negative impact on your credit score while still separating your finances from your spouse’s. However, this may not be possible if you do not have good credit or if the credit card company does not allow balance transfers.
An In-Court Divorce with Credit Card Debt
If a couple cannot agree on how to divide their debts, a judge will have to make the decision for them. The judge will consider a number of factors when determining how to split up the debts, including the financial needs and resources of each party, the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and any other relevant factors.
The judge may decide to split the debts evenly between the parties, or may allocate them based on each party’s ability to pay. For example, if one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other, the judge may assign more of the debts to that spouse. Alternatively, the judge may order one spouse to pay off certain debts in exchange for receiving a larger share of the marital assets.
It’s worth noting that if one party was found to have hidden assets or debts during the divorce proceedings, the judge may assign a larger share of the debts to that party as a penalty.
Divorce Lawyers for Men with Credit Card Debt
It is important to note that dividing marital debt during a divorce can be a complex process. Your divorce lawyer can help you navigate this process and ensure that your rights are protected. Your lawyer can also help you negotiate with your spouse and their lawyer to reach a fair and equitable agreement regarding the division of marital assets and debts.
The Micklin Law Group is a team of experienced divorce lawyers for men who specialize in helping men navigate the divorce process. We understand the unique challenges that men face during a divorce, including issues related to finances and child custody. Our attorneys are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome in their divorce, and we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and your financial future.
When you choose The Micklin Law Group as your divorce lawyers, you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality legal representation and support. We will guide you through every step of the divorce process, from negotiating a settlement to representing you in court if necessary. We understand that divorce can be a difficult and emotional time, and we are here to provide the compassionate support and guidance you need to move forward with confidence.
Dealing with joint credit cards during a divorce can be a complex and challenging process. It is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you protect your rights and your financial future. At The Micklin Law Group, we have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to help you achieve a positive outcome in your divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate the divorce process with confidence.