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How does divorce affect credit accounts and debts?

Anyone who is going through a divorce knows that dividing up property is part of the process. What some people may not realize is that property isn't the only thing has to be handled during the property division process. Debts, such as credit card accounts, also have to be handled.

How are debts divided?

Debts are divided in a divorce in a similar manner as assets. In most cases, they aren't divided in a 50-50 split. Instead, they are divided in an equitable manner.

Do creditors have to abide by the divorce decree?

Creditors don't have to abide by the divorce settlement. This means that if your ex fails to pay for his or her share of the bills that are noted in the divorce settlement, creditors can still hold you liable for the debts. This is because the creditors aren't a party in a divorce, which is a civil case. Since the creditors don't have a say in the proceedings, they aren't required to stick to the agreement.

What can I do to protect myself?

Some creditors may be willing to remove one party's name from the debt. This is usually only the case if the remaining party is sure to pay the bill. Creditors aren't required to change the responsible party. When you are going through a divorce, it is a good idea to close all accounts you hold together with your ex so there aren't more charges placed on the account.

As you can tell, dividing up debts can be complicated. Understanding how Texas law governs this division can help you to learn what to expect.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," accessed April. 07, 2015

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