If you and your spouse have a joint credit card account, it could cause headaches during your divorce. For one, your credit habits may differ wildly. While you may have financial savvy, your spouse might have a history of overspending and racking up debt. Furthermore, if your split is acrimonious, your spouse could attempt to leave you indebted by maxing out your credit card. Yet, despite these possibilities, you have ways to protect your finances during this difficult time.

Dividing your debts

Because Texas is a community property state, you and your spouse will divide your marital debt in a manner a court deems just. Based on state guidelines, you may shoulder responsibility for your spouse’s debt on your joint credit card. You may not have contributed to this debt. But your name will remain on the account and you may have to repay it if your spouse defaults.

If your spouse accumulated credit-card debt on purpose, their actions could qualify as dissipation of marital assets. In this case, a judge can order them to reimburse you for. As a penalty, your spouse may have to forfeit a share of marital assets equal to those they wasted. Or, they might end up paying you a money judgment equal to the debt they accumulated. Depending on their actions, they may have to do both.

Managing your account

After filing for divorce, you may want to make a request with your credit card company to freeze your joint account. Taking this action makes sense if the account has a balance that you and your spouse need to pay off before you close it. And it also makes sense if you worry your spouse will try to run up debts before or during divorce proceedings. By freezing your account, neither of you can make purchases using its associated card. Once it has a balance of zero, you will want to contact the credit card company again to close your account.

If you share a credit card with your spouse, you will want to be careful when dividing your debts and closing your account. Your attorney can guide you through these processes and clarify any concerns you may have about them.