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What becomes of your credit cards in a Washington divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | Marital Property Division

Deciding to divorce means accepting a lot of changes to your daily life. Your household, if not the location where you live, will drastically change. Your schedule and daily responsibilities also shift when you file for divorce.

You and your spouse will have to split your personal property when you divorce. You also have to negotiate a way to divide your debt. Credit cards can be a particularly challenging source of debt for couples to address in their Washington divorces.

What will your upcoming divorce likely mean for your credit cards?

You may have to freeze or close your accounts

Spouses often share lines of credit. That way, there is one balance and one payment due each month. The obvious issue with shared credit card accounts when you divorce is that you will have to close them.

You may find yourself without any immediate sources of revolving credit, which can make covering the expenses that accumulate in the early stages of divorce very difficult. For many people, addressing the need for separate credit will be one of the most important early steps to take in a divorce.

You likely have to share the debts

Under the community property standard in Washington, you have to divide your marital property and the financial obligations assumed during the marriage. Any credit card debt from during the marriage, including on accounts held only in the name of one spouse, may be part of your marital estate.

You may have to negotiate how to divide those credit card balances. It is important to note that you could still end up responsible for certain debts if your spouse fails to pay their obligations. Realizing that you could end up accountable for certain debts as a co-borrower can potentially alter how you handle that in the divorce.

Some people ask to assume more of the debt and then also receive more of the marital property as a means of reducing their personal exposure during the divorce. How you approach your credit cards will vary based on your needs, your income and your debt levels.

Carefully reviewing your finances can help you establish reasonable goals for property division matters in your upcoming Washington divorce.