You work hard for years to maintain a good credit history and score. When you are married, you and your spouse are usually responsible for the debts that you incur. Although you may always pay your bills on time and keep a good credit to debt ratio, you could face some credit challenges during and after your divorce. Even when couples agree to end their marriage, they may disagree about finances. In North Carolina, when couples divorce their marital property, including debts are to be divided equally.
Marital debts are debts that you and your spouse incur while you are married. When you divorce, you must determine which of your property, assets, and debts are separate and which are marital. Marital debts are those that you share with your spouse. Separate debts are generally those that you incurred prior to your marriage. There are some debts that one party may take on during the marriage that could still belong to both parties. Both parties are responsible for paying marital debts. Debt could impact your credit score, even after your divorce.
Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How Can I protect myself from my spouses spending habits?”
Should We Pay Off Debts?
Couples may be well-advised to pay off their debts as part of the divorce process. This will eliminate the potential problem of adverse credit. You and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement regarding who, how, and when debts will be paid. Your divorce attorney will often be able to assist in resolving debt disputes. If you cannot reach an agreement, it may help to participate in mediation. A mediator is an objective third-party professional who facilitates resolution of disputes between divorcing parties.
Should We Have Separate Bank Accounts?
While it may be prudent to keep separate bank accounts while you are married, it is not always practical. You need to be able to pay for your joint expenses such as housing, food, and other costs. It is important to know that joint bank accounts are usually considered marital assets, even if one person contributes more than the other. If you decide to divorce, you and your spouse cannot remove money from the account or hide assets from the other. You should keep records of your current account balance and information to protect assets in a divorce.
Obtain Credit Reports
It is helpful to get a credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at the start of your divorce. You will be able to identify all your credit accounts and you will know all of your current debts. If a new debt appears after you separate, you may be able to prove that it was not a marital debt and therefore you should be responsible for repayment. While you are going through your separation and divorce, continue to pull your credit reports on a regular basis so you can quickly identify any areas of concern and address them as part of the divorce.
Divorce is difficult enough without having to worry about how it will affect your credit score. By being aware of your debts and addressing them as part of your divorce distribution you will be better able to manage your credit score. Our experienced divorce attorneys will guide you through the divorce process and ensure that your assets and debts get divided properly. Contact us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your case.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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