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Managing Credit Card Debt During a Divorce

One of the more common financial issues that arises during the divorce process is how to divide the debts a couple incurred during the marriage.

Any credit card debt incurred while the couple was married is classified as marital debt, meaning it is the responsibility of both spouses to pay it off. In many circumstances, creditors will look to both spouses to pay off the debts owed on credit cards. However, the creditor is also within its rights to seek payment for the whole debt from just one spouse.

Don’t expect creditors to pay attention to court orders

The divorce court is tasked with determining which debts each spouse is responsible for paying or how individual debt responsibilities will be split between the spouses. But keep in mind that this order only affects you and your spouse — it does not affect the creditors at all. The creditors only care about getting paid, and if the debt is in the name of both spouses, the creditor will take whatever steps necessary to retrieve those payments.

For example, if the spouse assigned by court order to pay off a debt fails to do so, there is nothing stopping a creditor from coming after the other spouse, even though it is not that spouse’s responsibility to pay the debt under the divorce decree.

If you do end up having to pay off debts the other spouse was ordered to pay, you may go back to court and seek a judgment against the other party. One potential strategy to ensure you get paid back is wage garnishment, but there are various other steps you can take to rectify the situation.

For further guidance on how you can handle credit card and other debt during your divorce, consult an experienced Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

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