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Massachusetts property division: Dealing with credit card debt

When discussing how to divide property in a divorce, most people talk about the house, sentimental items and bank accounts. The property division phase of the divorce process does not just deal with these assets, though. For divorcing couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere, what to do with credit card and any other debts must also be addressed.

Many families across the country have some level of credit card debt. While some may be able to get out of it in a relatively short period of time, others may literally be drowning in debt. When a couple gets divorced, who is responsible for this debt?

A few things will be looked at before deciding how much of the debt will be the responsibility of each party. If the debt is only listed under one spouse's name, that spouse will generally be considered responsible to repay what is owed. If the debt is on shared accounts, however, both spouses may be held equally accountable. This is why it is advisable to pay off all joint debts before going through the divorce process. However, it is understandable that this is not always an option.

When joint credit card debt is divided between the parties in a divorce, there are options for dealing with the debt and closing joint accounts. Failing to appropriately deal with joint accounts may only hurt the credit of one or both parties in the future. With the assistance of legal counsel, financial advisors and other professionals, couples in Massachusetts who have shared debts can make all of the necessary property division arrangements needed to deal with the debt and move forward after divorce free from any negative financial ties to their former spouses.

Source:, "Dividing credit card debt in divorce", Amy E. Buttell, Accessed on June 23, 2016

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