Closing joint credit cards might save divorcing couples money

When going through a divorce, disentangling is the hardest part. The divorce decree only does so much and no more. Couples still need to do a lot of the legwork when it comes to closing accounts to protect themselves. One reason for this is that many exes continue to share joint accounts to care for the children or to handle spousal support. 

Subsequently, joint accounts do not automatically close after a divorce. Exes might need to make that request formally. Whenever possible, it might also make sense to close some accounts ahead of the divorce, such as credit card accounts. 

The liability 

Business Insider reminds readers that even if one party agrees to take responsibility for a joint credit card account, if both parties remain on the account, both parties are liable. There is no telling how a person’s finances might stretch after a divorce, so this might prove risky even when the spouse usually displayed responsible spending habits. When the spouse is not responsible or a lot of friction exists, one spouse might deliberately run up the bill to spite the other person. 

The responsibility 

Experian says it is important to remember that creditors might not pay any attention to divorce contracts as their contracts are with both parties. Because of this, removing spouses as authorized users is important. Things become even more complicated in community property states, as creditors might hold both parties accountable regardless of whose name the accounts are in. Thankfully, Florida is not a community property state, so removing authorized users or closing the accounts altogether might help. 

Divorce is a difficult time for all parties involved. There is an adjustment period required and even the person who first requested the divorce might feel pressured by going from sharing burdens to handling everything alone. 

FindLaw Network
The Florida Bar | Board Certified
Super Lawyers
Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards & Legal Ability | AV Preeminent | Martindale-Hubbell from LexisNexis 2020
AFLP | Association of Family Law Professionals
Bar Register | Preeminent Lawyers | 2020 Martindale-Hubbell