Everyone knows it's a good idea to separate your finances before getting a divorce. Otherwise, you will have endless battles in court over who gets the house, car and especially who gets what debt. If you really hate your soon-to-be ex, it can be impossible to work together to decide these things.
That's where judges and divorce courts come in. They decide these things for you. What they decide always revolves around who gets the house, the car and who pays off what debt.
It's this last one that is a real hot button issue in most divorces. In many cases, the judge will assign the credit card debt to only one of you even though it was your spouse who actually ran up the bill. There are many cases of women having to pay off credit cards that their husbands used to buy things for the mistress.
This leads to even more resentment and usually bad credit as well, as some of these women refuse to pay. If you're not on speaking terms with your spouse, it is impossible to determine who gets the house and car. However, there are still things you can do to prevent yourself from being saddled with debt that you did not ring up.
The first thing you should do is remove your soon-to-be ex off of any authorized user cards. Its bad enough you're going to have to share debt with this person, you don't want him to be racking up a lot of extra bills before you get a chance to file for divorce. After all as the primary user, the bank comes after you not him.
Next, you should close all joint accounts accounts. Usually at this stage your soon-to-be ex-coming is more than happy to close the accounts with you. In the case of credit card joint accounts, these need to be paid off before they are closed. Though that might not seem fair, it is worth it because it creates less hassle for you later.
For any joint accounts you can't close, you should send creditors in writing that you are breaking up with your spouse and your spouse is racking up debts without you. Don't use the card again after this point. It's very important to specify that you are not responsible for these new debts, though you're still 'on the hook' for the old ones. You also need documentation and proof that you sent your joint creditors this letter.
Many people think this last part sounds silly; after all creditors really don't care how many letters you send them, they're still going to come after you as soon as the bill is due. While that's certainly true, this letter is actually for court, not for the creditors themselves. This proves to the judge that you acted in a responsible manner and this weighs heavily in the judge's decision as to who gets stuck with that debt.
Finally, the last thing you can do without ever involving your ex is establish your own credit. While you are married your credit scores sort of mingle, but you do have your own credit score as well. You need to get your personal credit score up and establish your own personal credit before the divorce. This includes seeing credit report and fixing any errors, taking out a credit card in your name only and opening up a separate bank account also in your name only.
Divorce is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States. This is because most people didn't take the right precautions prior to the divorce. If you let the judge decide everything, then you're going to be saddled with debt that isn't yours and that you resent or can't pay. A little time invested now can pay off huge dividends in your future without your ex or you're ex's debt. It's time to take control of your new future by taking control of your personal credit score and your debt.