Reply
New Member
charliechan
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎09-02-2010
0

Divorce and the joint credit card...

Good morning, I went through a divorce about 4 years ago and in our divorce decree it states that a joint retail credit card was to be my ex-husbands responsiblity (he kept all the items that were purchased with the card).  I called and tried to get removed from the credit card, however I was told that I was still obligated even though the divorce decree stated it was no longer my responsiblity.  The card is still open and being used and while that wouldn't normally bother me, my ex has now made a payment over 30 days late on it which is showing negative against me.  I have never made any late payments and this is a huge annoyance to me and my credit score.  What should I do to keep from being penalized for this debt that is no longer supposed to be my responsiblity?

 

Any help is appreciated!

Community Leader
Senior Contributor
laz98
Posts: 4,336
Registered: ‎09-06-2008
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

i'm not an expert, but from what i have heard, the credit card companies don't care about the divorce decree.  they care about the agreement you signed with them, as joint users.  i think the only way to get off of the account would be to close it, which would also prevent further damage to your credit.

Latest scores: Walmart TU: 769. MyFICO TU: 769. DCU EQ: 755. MyFICO EQ: 780. PSECU EX: 756. MyFICO EX: 780.
Valued Contributor
chasmith
Posts: 1,062
Registered: ‎05-26-2010
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

This can get touchy, as Laz98 says you can close it (I think as a joint account holder you can unilaterally close it, or provoke a closure by notifying the lender you will take no responsibility for any further charges) but then what happens if the ex stops paying?  Not only can your credit be affected, you are legally responsible for the entire balance despite what the divorce decree says.  You would have to sue the ex for violating the decree.

 

You need to discuss with the ex, and if necessary with an attorney, that taking responsibility means getting you off the card, either by paying it off and closing it, or by the ex convincing the creditor to allow your removal.

BK7 Filed 8/11/2009 Discharged 11/23/2009. Purchased new home 4/11/2012
Starting Score:11/16/2009 EQ 566 11/16/2009 TU 538
Interim Score: 12/27/2012 EQ 683 09/17/2012 EX (lender) 670 1/01/2013 TU 701
Current Score: 11/06/2013 EQ 708 11/06/2013 EX 702 11/16/2013 702 11/06/2013 TU 729
Goal Score: EQ 740 EX 740 TU 740
Take the FICO Fitness Challenge
New Member
charliechan
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎09-02-2010
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

That was one of the things the credit card company suggested, just closing out the account.  They did say I would be subject to penalty if the balance wasn't paid so that's not an option unfortunately... I would hate to have to pay for things I don't have.  I have learned my lesson on joint anythings though... a mortgage might be the only thing I would EVER do jointly again!

 

Thanks everyone for the advise!

Epic Contributor
Creditaddict
Posts: 22,038
Registered: ‎10-23-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

Are you saying there have been more charges to the card after the divorce?  You need to close this like now, I can't believe your lawyers didn't have you close this at time of divorcer.  Rather it's open or not if he stops paying it your going to stuck with it so I would make sure he doesn't rack it up before passing it on to you

Fico Scores: EQ- 626 Overstck., TU 696 Walmart, EX 695 Chase (11-05-14)
You will have to put up Electric Fence to keep me in the garden!
Highest Limit: Navy Federal Cash Sigi Visa $50k (AU)
Lowest Limit: Target $200
66 Cards and Counting :smileytongue:
New Member
charliechan
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎09-02-2010
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

Well, when we divorced we didn't have children or any property so we actually just filed ourselves.  It was the quickest and cheapest way to get things taken care of at the time.  Now in hindsight I wish that I had gotten an attorney and sucked up the cost.  I should probably consult one now and see what they say.  My ex and I are not on speaking terms so it's not possible to reason with him on this matter.  Last time I tried it was... "I'm doing what I can..." then a dial tone. 

 

I just hate the fact that it's out of my control more or less.  Very frustrating, especially since I've gone without necessities to make sure I pay my bills on time. 

Valued Contributor
GregB
Posts: 1,669
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

Don't beat yourself up for not hiring an attorney at the time. If you didn't have children or property when you divorced, you likely saved a bunch of money doing it yourselves. It is also likely that it got done faster. If this is the only remaining issue, you might still be better off doing it the way you did.

 

Let's get some clarification on the CC. Are you sure it is a "joint" CC? My understanding is that is very rare with a CC. You need to know the facts. Your credit report should say something about the responsibility. Let's hope it was done in his name and you can just say it is not yours.

 

If it is actually that rare joint CC then it should have been closed before the divorce was finalized. If it was not, the lender will absolutely not care what the divorce decree says as they are not bound by it.

Epic Contributor
Creditaddict
Posts: 22,038
Registered: ‎10-23-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

 


GregB wrote:

Don't beat yourself up for not hiring an attorney at the time. If you didn't have children or property when you divorced, you likely saved a bunch of money doing it yourselves. It is also likely that it got done faster. If this is the only remaining issue, you might still be better off doing it the way you did.

 

Let's get some clarification on the CC. Are you sure it is a "joint" CC? My understanding is that is very rare with a CC. You need to know the facts. Your credit report should say something about the responsibility. Let's hope it was done in his name and you can just say it is not yours.

 

If it is actually that rare joint CC then it should have been closed before the divorce was finalized. If it was not, the lender will absolutely not care what the divorce decree says as they are not bound by it.


what do you mean joint cards are rare, you can get a joint account with almost any bank out there except amex off the top of my head

 

Fico Scores: EQ- 626 Overstck., TU 696 Walmart, EX 695 Chase (11-05-14)
You will have to put up Electric Fence to keep me in the garden!
Highest Limit: Navy Federal Cash Sigi Visa $50k (AU)
Lowest Limit: Target $200
66 Cards and Counting :smileytongue:
Moderator Emerita
Community Leader
Epic Contributor
haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,098
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

[ Edited ]

Well, it is sort of "rare" in the sense that most times, both parties must apply for the card at the time of initial application. Sadly, it's not uncommon for one party to list the other as a joint applicant, without bothering to tell the other.

 

There are a few lenders that will allow someone to come on as joint after the card is already open, but it's not very common.

 

Many, many people don't know that there's a difference between "joint ownership" and "authorized user status", and they think that if they have a card, or if their name is on there anywhere at all, they must be joint. But they're not.

 

This is always the first step when a creditor comes after you for what you assumed was someone else's card: verify whether you're joint or AU.

 

OP, I hope that you have an old credit report lying around somewhere that lists this card. If you do, check to see whether it shows you as joint owner or authorized user. (The third category is "individual", meaning that the card is issued to one person only.) The reason that I mention looking for an old report is because I wouldn't put it past a CCC to suddenly start reporting that an AU card is joint, when things go sour. :smileysad:

 

If it shows as "authorized user", dispute with the credit bureaus as "not mine", and it should go away. I would suggest starting with just Equifax, and seeing if it falls off all three. This is because Experian loves to reply to disputes as being investigated and everything is just fine, and if you try to dispute again, they say that it's already been investigated. :smileytongue: :smileymad:

 

Normally I'd say to dispute with the lender, but the CCC wants money from someone, anyone, so I'm not convinced that they would give an honest reply, sad to say.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Valued Contributor
GregB
Posts: 1,669
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...


Creditaddict wrote:

 

what do you mean joint cards are rare, you can get a joint account with almost any bank out there except amex off the top of my head

 


I've helped a couple dozen people clean up CCs and such during divorce and never saw a single one. Joint Mortgage, Joint Auto Loan, even a few Joint Personal Loans, but zero Joint CC. Perhaps this varies by state? I've got two credit apps for unsolicited CC offers that are sitting in front of me and I don't see any place to even enter a Joint Applicant. They only list Primary and Additional Cardholder information.


myFICO is the consumer division of FICO. Since its introduction 20 years ago, the FICO® Score has become a global standard for measuring credit risk in the banking, mortgage, credit card, auto and retail industries. 90 of the top 100 largest U.S. financial institutions use the FICO Score to make consumer credit decisions.

>> About myFICO
FICO Score - The Score that matters
Click to Verify - This site chose VeriSign SSL for secure e-commerce and confidential communications.
Fair Isaac Corporation is a BBB Accredited Financial Service in San Rafael, CA
FOLLOW US Social Media Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+
}