Figuring out how to divide up a jointly entwined life is one of the hardest aspects of getting divorced. When you are in the throes of a divorce, it may be normal to assume that by documenting all of your decisions in a divorce decree, you will have the record of your agreements with your spouse that you need. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to provide you with the financial assurances you deserve.

When it comes to dividing joint debt, your divorce decree may not be able to prevent a creditor from coming after you for repayment should your spouse fail to make payments per the terms of your divorce agreement. U.S. News and World Report also indicates that a lender or credit card company may even make a negative report against your credit to credit reporting bureaus should your spouse miss a payment or make a late payment if your name remains on the account.

When it is not possible for a joint debt to be completely paid off before your divorce is completed, the person who is supposed to repay the debt after the divorce should transfer the debt to an account in their name only. This should happen for anything from a credit card account to a home loan to an automobile loan and more.

If you would like to learn more about how you may protect yourself against surprise credit collections or negative credit bureau reports due to your former spouse’s activities, please feel free to visit the asset and debt division page of our California family law and divorce website.