If you and your spouse have a joint credit card – both names are on the account – both of you are responsible for the payment even if only one of you has accumulated charges on the card. In a divorce, your spouse may be court ordered to make the payments on the card when dividing property and debts, but what happens if he or she fails to follow through?
Keep in mind the credit card company does not care what the divorce order says, you both remain responsible for the debt. If it is not paid, the creditor will pursue both parties, which may mean negative reporting to credit agencies or legal action to recover what is owed. Even if your spouse starts out paying court ordered payments on your joint credit card after the divorce is finalized does not mean they will continue to do so for the long term. It is important to continue to monitor statements until the debt is paid off.
To avoid negative consequences for the nonpayment of jointly held debt in a divorce, couples should work with their respective attorneys to divide property and debt to avoid situations where an ex-spouse is responsible for payments on jointly held accounts when possible. This might boil down to prioritizing the payoff of joint debt prior to the divorce, earmarking the proceeds from the sale of the home or other assets to liquidate joint debt, or having the responsible spouse take out a personal loan to cover what they owe. There are a number of creative strategies you may want to explore to untangle marital finances in a divorce.
However, many couples cannot afford to pay off joint credit accounts and may not have or want to sell the home or other assets to pay them off. In this case, one spouse may be ordered to pay off the joint debt and the other spouse will have to ensure that timely payments are being made since both remain responsible to the creditor. If the court ordered spouse does not make payments, the other spouse can return to the divorce court who issued the order to compel the court ordered spouse to resume payments or to seek reimbursement for payments the other spouse has made to keep jointly-held accounts current.
If Your Ex-Spouse Is Not Making Court Ordered Payments to Joint Credit Cards
Contact an Experienced Illinois Property & Debt Division Attorney For Help
If you have questions regarding the division of marital property in Illinois, contact the Libertyville Illinois family law offices of Ronald L. Bell Associates for immediate assistance at 847-495-6000.