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Resolving marital credit card debt during a split

Virginia couples who have decided to begin the divorce process will have many things to negotiate and resolve before they can begin their new life. One of these is any joint credit card debt they incurred during the marriage. While the way this type of debt is handled during divorce depends on the state, the options that couples have to resolve it are similar throughout the country.

The one thing experts recommend is to always try to walk out of the divorce with no joint credit card debt left. One reason is because credit card companies can still go after a person for debt incurred in marriage that their ex-spouse had agreed to pay off as part of the divorce settlement. Couples can use joint savings to pay off joint credit cards and then cancel those credit cards. They could also use part of their home equity line. If these are not options, couples should divide the debt, transfer each person's part to an individual credit card and then cancel their joint credit cards. They should also file legal paperwork to establish a date of separation, so any purchases made after that can be legally considered the responsibility of the spouse making the purchase.

If the debt is overwhelming, couples might consider filing for bankruptcy. However, they should file at the same time if they are still married so that neither person can end up responsible for the joint debt by themselves. If, however, the couple needs to carry their joint credit card debt into their post-divorce life, the divorce agreement may be worded to show who is legally responsible for the debt.

Individuals negotiating a divorce settlement may benefit from a support team that includes a family law lawyer to help them plan for life after divorce. A lawyer may be able to provide guidance and legal representation throughout the process.

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