If you and your spouse have a significant amount of credit card debt and then decide that you are going to get divorced, you will need to pay close attention to how you can both address this debt. Many people think about dividing assets in a divorce, but they should remember that debts become part of a property division settlement as well.

As explained by Money Management International, the best scenario for divorcing couples with debt is to find a way to pay off any debt before their divorce is completed. This approach is the cleanest solution and allows each person to move forward with no debt ties remaining to the other person. If the couple does not have enough liquid assets to pay off all debt, they should consider transferring any debt to solo versus joint accounts based on which person will be responsible for repaying which debt.

A divorce decree may stipulate which person shall assume liability for which debt, but a creditor still continues any name on an account to be responsible for the debt. This means missed or late payments by one person will appear on the credit report of the other person. Debt collection activities may include both spouses even if the divorce decree indicates only one person was supposed to pay the debt. Some creditors allow the removal of one person from an account.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give divorcing spouses an overview of the challenges associated with dividing debt when their marriage ends and how they can protect themselves down the road.