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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Be sure to address your joint accounts during divorce

Divorcing couples in New Jersey have a laundry list of things to consider. Though some things may slip through the cracks, credit card debt is something you should not let go unnoticed and unaddressed. Though divorce decrees made in family law courts determine what is to be done with assets and debts, credit card lenders are not held to these documents. This means that the responsibility of addressing this issue lies on you and your former spouse-and it may mean working together one more time.

According to statistics, about 48 percent of married couples keep separate credit card and bank accounts. This is a smart move and can make the division of property process much easier. But many other couples have joint accounts and this is where the confusion can occur. Experts suggest that divorcing couples close all of their joint accounts before the divorce is finalized. This is because both people are listed on the account. If one spouse is left in charge of the account and fails to make payments, the other may be held accountable.

In order to divide a joint credit card account, the couple can split the debt and have it transferred to two separate accounts. Once this is done, the joint account should be closed so that neither spouse can affect the finances of the other. Another way to close such accounts is to simply repay the debt, but this may not be possible.

One factor that often confuses couples is the difference between a joint credit card and an authorized user credit card. The latter has an owner and a person who is authorized to use the account-if you and your spouse chose this route, the authorized user may still be allowed to use the card but will not be held liable for any unpaid debt. Be sure to take such users off accounts during the divorce.

Source: Lawyers.com, "You May be Responsible for Your Ex's Credit Card Debt," Oct. 26, 2012

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