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Credit Cards And College Loans

While not the type of property a spouse hopes to acquire in a divorce proceeding, debt must also be split between spouses, and debts accumulated during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution. Like with property division, a court will attempt to allocate the debt fairly, and will first rely on information from parties to help determine how much debt is property of the marriage and how much is to be considered separate. The debt will then be subtracted from the marital assets prior to distribution to the parties.

When you and your spouse begin your initial conversations about a pending divorce, you should make a point to review any credit card accounts that are joint accounts. It is imperative that you continue with regular payments during this difficult time, otherwise the credit rating of both you and your spouse will suffer. If it is a joint credit card with any type of outstanding balance, both you and your spouse will be held responsible for the balance.

It is advisable to close joint accounts as soon as possible and also to close any personal accounts that list your spouse as a joint user on the card. The accounts cannot be closed if there is a balance on them, so it is important to try to pay off any balances and then to close the accounts. Make sure you alert your spouse to the fact that you plan to close joint accounts, especially any accounts that may be used to pay educational, dance, sport or other activity related expenses for children.

When you close a joint credit card account, most companies will not automatically switch the joint account to a single account for you. You will be asked to reapply for the credit card and then once your new application, reflecting your new income is considered, they will either extend you credit or deny your credit application.

Dividing Credit Cards During A Divorce

credit card debt

In New Jersey, when the courts are dealing with issues regarding any debt, especially credit card debt in a divorce hearing, they have to determine three things. First, the existence of the debt has to be proven. This means that it must be shown that the debt is a legal legitimate debt and it does currently exist. Next, the court has to examine the type of debt it is; is it marital debt or non-marital debt? Once this is determined, then the court will determine the debt allocation and decide which spouse is responsible for it.

Establishing That Debt Exists

One or both parties will be asked to produce credit card statements that show the dates during which the debt was incurred, what was purchased and which spouse purchased it and what the purchase price was.

Marital Or Non-Marital Debt

Marital debts are any debts that were incurred during the duration of the marriage or any debt that are household based, such as credit card bills that were used for groceries, cars, clothing, or medical expenses. New Jersey for the most part, will rule that both spouses are held responsible for credit card debt.

Non-marital debts include any debts incurred before the marriage, such as student loans or single credit card debts. Additionally any debts that exist due to one spouse' misuse of marital monies or credit, such as gifts given during an extra marital affair, trips taken with a paramour, or drug purchases are non-marital debts. In this instance, the spouse who is responsible for the debt has to pay it.

College Loans

cap with money

In New Jersey, each spouse is responsible for his or her own college loan, unless the parties were married at the time the loan was taken. If a private loan was taken, though a bank, in order to pay for college expenses, then both parties are responsible for that loan if it was taken during the duration of the marriage.

College loans taken out by parents for children are considered martial debts and both parties are responsible for these debts as well. If college loans are taken for children after the divorce is final, the parent who signs for the loan is responsible for that debt.

Contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C.

If you are in the early stages of a divorce and you have questions or are seeking guidance about how to best handle credit card debt and or college loan debt in relation to your divorce proceedings, contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today. Our law offices serve the regions of Monmouth and Ocean County and an experienced attorney can guide you toward the best solution to your divorce related issue.

Call 732-751-4991 us today if you are Dealing with Debt in a Divorce.

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.