Brazil & Benske, LLC

Dealing with jointly owned credit cards during divorce

The danger of owning a credit card with your spouse while you are in the midst of a divorce is that you could end up on the hook for expenses generated by your spouse. With property and asset division on the horizon, the last thing you want is to be saddled with more debt. That is why in the beginning stages of any divorce in Milwaukee, one of the first steps to take is to separate your credit cards from your spouse.

According to, cancelling credit cards you own with your spouse is one way you can be sure that you will not run up more debt. However, sometimes a person might forget about a card or two. It is not uncommon for some people to forget about some of their assets, so if you have any doubts, you may want to ask for help in tracking down all of your accounts so you do not end up with a nasty debt surprise later on.

Whether you are sure you cancelled all your cards or not, you should at least get your existing debts on the record. To do so, you can inform the court about the existence of your jointly owned cards and the current debt owed on each card. This can prevent a spouse from going on a spending spree with the card and leaving you with a new load of debt.

Some divorces are more amicable than others. If so, the two parties involved may be able to separate themselves from jointly owned cards without closing the accounts. Nerdwallet points out that older credit cards can boost the holder’s credit rating more than cards with a short use history, so if possible, try to negotiate to remove yourself from a joint card and let the other spouse keep it, or vice versa.

However, even if you get to keep an old card, your ex might still retain the account numbers. To make sure that your former spouse is not tempted to try to use a card number for a future purchase, ask your credit card holder to change the account number. You can do this at the same time you remove your spouse from the card.

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