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How may a divorce affect my shared credit card accounts?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2021 | Family Law |

California’s community property laws require dividing your marital assets and shared debts during a divorce. As reported by CNBC, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have joint credit card accounts, you may take steps to protect your credit and your finances.

By requesting a copy of your credit report, you may determine which accounts you share with your spouse. Accounts listed in both your names generally mean that you both have responsibility for making payments.

How may I close a joint credit card account?

When requesting a change to your account, the card’s issuer may need to know about your divorce. Closing a joint account generally requires approval from both owners. If the card has a balance, your creditor may not close it until the account becomes paid in full.

Once the account has closed, however, you may lose any reward or bonus points. You may also see your credit score reduced by about 50 points, according to a survey conducted by Debt.com and Moneywise.com.

What could happen if I remove myself from a shared account?

Shared accounts include joint owners and authorized users. A card issuer that lists you as an “authorized” user means that your spouse owns the account. If you opened an account and then added your spouse as an authorized user, you may remove his or her name from the account to avoid new charges.

When you remove either yourself or your spouse as an authorized user, you may still have responsibility for paying the debt. A Golden State judge may require you to pay half of the balance owed if the purchases made as an authorized user went toward your shared household.

Divorce may require negotiating the payment of shared credit card debts. Ordering a credit report will show your joint accounts and those accounts that list you as an authorized user.