When spouses have joint credit card accounts and bank accounts, what they purchase is not private. Their spouse can check the statements and see exactly what they purchased, when they did so, where they were and how much they spent. This information is recorded with each credit or debit card transaction.
As such, it’s important to be very aware of spending money on these accounts while going through a divorce. Many people advise divorcing couples to close down their joint accounts, pay off their debt, and open new separate accounts on their own. This can also be done with bank accounts, not just with credit card accounts. It may be true that making purchases on joint cards could hurt your case as you get divorced, but why is this so?
How could spending during divorce hurt your case?
During the property division process, debt has to be divided, along with assets, and that includes the debt on joint credit card accounts. If your spouse sees that you are still spending on a shared account after you’ve separated and are going through the divorce process, they may not want to take on a portion of that debt. This can lead to disputes over who is really responsible for it and what really counts as marital property, as opposed to separate property.
Additionally, excessive spending could be seen as the dissipation of marital assets. Money transfers could be seen as an attempt to hide assets. All of these things can be very problematic. Furthermore, in terms of child custody, what you’re purchasing and how you’re using your money may be considered. The court has to consider the safety and stability of a child’s living situation when determining where that child is going to live and what custody rights each parent will be awarded.
Finally, child support may be ordered during divorce. If there is any dispute over how much someone can afford to pay in support or how much they earn, these credit card accounts could be considered as potential evidence. They are just more financial information for your ex to try to use against you if they’re so inclined.
If you’re concerned about these types of issues, your divorce may become contentious. Be sure you know about all of your legal options at this time and to seek legal guidance in order to better safeguard your interests as you move forward.