Verify That Joint Credit Card Accounts Are Closed … or Close Them Yourself

A divorce lawyer can never remind clients too often that joint debt and marital debt are not necessarily the same.

For example, people who are not married to each other can have joint debt by both of them signing for it.

On the other hand, if only one spouse signs for a debt incurred during the marriage, that is marital debt, although it is not joint.

Fussy details? More than that.

A creditor generally cannot come after a spouse who did not sign for the debt. Only a divorce court can order the other spouse to contribute to paying off that marital, but not joint, debt.

Similarly, a creditor can go after either spouse on joint debt. That is why it is important to close joint accounts promptly.

And, with the stakes potentially high, closing of joint accounts should not be left to the other spouse, without production of proof.

Read more in this divorce credit column: Divorce doesn’t dissolve joint card debt.