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Credit card debt and the divorce process

Texas residents who are going through a divorce may have credit card debt that was incurred during their marriage. In a divorce, credit card debt must be divided just like marital assets are divided. Because Texas is a community property state, credit card debt that was taken on while the couple was married is generally split equally by the court between divorcing spouses regardless of which spouse's name is on the credit card statement.

Divorcing spouses can often negotiate out-of-court property division settlements that include agreements about how credit card debts will be paid off. However, it is important to understand that credit card companies and credit bureaus will not respect divorce settlement agreements or divorce decrees. As far as a creditor or collection agent is concerned, the original credit contract is all that matters.

If a divorcing couple has joint credit card accounts that were opened while they were married, both spouses' names will be tied to the debt regardless of how they decide to pay the debt off. In Texas, a person's credit report may include individual debts that their ex-spouse incurred during their marriage. A change in marital status does not automatically change a joint credit card account, but a creditor may agree to change a person's joint account to an individual account upon request.

While the division of credit card debt in a divorce can be complicated, failing to sort out credit card debt issues before the process is finalized can have lasting consequences. The couple may want to have the assistance of their respective attorneys in negotiating a property division settlement agreement that addresses this issue.

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