In a divorce, spouses can determine, with the help of their attorneys, how they're going to divide up their joint debt. If they can't reach an agreement, it can be determined by a judge. Joint debt generally includes mortgages, car loans and credit cards.
However, it's important to remember that unless you notify your creditors that one of your names is to be removed from the account, it will remain. Otherwise, even if your spouse is legally responsible for the debt on a particular credit card account based on the divorce decree, if your name is still on the account, it's part of your credit report.
That means that the status of that account can impact your credit score. As one attorney and credit expert notes, one of the most common causes of credit score problems for divorced people is that the other spouse let a debt go delinquent.
Even if your spouse pays on time, if he or she decides to make a large purchase on a credit card that your name is still attached, that can affect your ability to get credit -- something you'll need if you buy a new home, car or any of the sundry other things you may need as a newly-single person.
You can close a joint credit card account without the other party's consent and then ask the creditor to reissue the card in your name alone. However, it's best when both parties communicate with each other about these changes.
Once you've authorized the change in ownership on your credit cards, home and auto loans and other joint debt, it's essential to make sure that the changes were made correctly. Your credit reports are updated monthly, so it's a good idea to monitor yours for awhile after your divorce to make sure that everything is accurate.
Your Florida family law attorney can advise you on what you need to do to separate your credit from your spouse's as early in the divorce process as possible. Your attorney can also help you take action if your ex-spouse isn't adhering to the responsibility that he or she was legally assigned for joint debt.
Source: Yahoo! Finance, "I'm Divorced, So Why Is My Spouse Still on My Credit Report?," Brooke Niemeyer, Credit.com, May 27, 2016