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Beware lingering credit between divorcing spouses

When divorce comes knocking on the door of a couple with complex assets, it is often a monumental feat to separate out these individuals' financial lives. Marital property applies to both assets and liabilities, and most couples with significant assets also carry complicated debts. If you're facing a divorce and concerned about how you will address your intricately entwined financial lives, you should consider enlisting the guidance of an attorney with experience handling complex assets. Careful assistance can help you navigate this minefield and protect yourself from the dangers of having your credit remain tied to a former spouse.

Many couples choose to mingle their assets together, often borrowing money jointly. Joint lines credit are perfectly useful while a marriage remains intact, but once it crumbles, these financial liabilities become liabilities on a whole new scale. One can easily imagine how two divorced spouses could continue to harm each other if they share ongoing debt together.

If, for instance, you and your spouse share a number of credit cards and you choose to divorce, you may think it is acceptable to keep those lines of credit open and establish guidelines for how they are to be paid in your divorce decree. However, even if a divorce decree states that the responsibility for paying a certain line of credit rests on one spouse's shoulders, creditors may not honor this separation, and may still pursue the other party for payment if the first defaults.

It is generally wise to completely separate your credit life from that of the spouse you are divorcing. Of course, this is almost always easier said than done, and more complex assets mean even more complex remedies. Be sure to get the help you need to fully protect yourself as you pursue a fair, equitable divorce.

Source: Findlaw, "Credit and Divorce," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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