You may already have an idea about what property you want to keep in your divorce, but have you given much thought to your debts? Financial obligations like credit cards are as much a part of your marital estate as your home and bank accounts.
When dividing community property, an Arizona family law judge has to look at your assets and obligations or debts. Given that many households use credit cards to cover basic expenses every month, you likely have joint credit card accounts with your ex.
Will you have to close those accounts when you divorce?
Closing or freezing accounts is standard procedure
Some people respond to imminent divorce with financial misconduct. There are those who will spend thousands of dollars on a shopping spree, imagining that their ex will have to pay half of the bill. Many individuals filing for divorce will have to close or freeze their accounts until the end of the divorce.
Obviously, that can put you in a difficult situation, as opening a new line of credit immediately after the closure of multiple credit cards can prove a tricky prospect. It is generally advisable for those preparing for divorce to obtain at least one credit card in their own name prior to filing, if possible. That way, they will still have revolving credit available to cover household expenses during their divorce.
Your balances prior to separation are subject to division
The name on the account isn’t the most important consideration in an Arizona divorce. Community property laws that apply to your debt mean that you will share accountability for balances accrued during the marriage.
The only exception to this mutual financial obligation involves intentional wastefulness. If one spouse can prove that the other misused resources for their own benefit, the courts may choose to exclude those amounts from property division proceedings.
You will likely have partial responsibility for some of the credit card debt and will need to open new lines of credit during a divorce as you close your joint accounts. Familiarizing yourself with what community property rules will mean for your divorce will help you better plan for your financial future.