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What do we do about credit card balances that keep changing?

Arrangements for payment of debts, including credit cards, will likely differ depending on where you are in the process of separating your finances. They may also differ based on what was charged, who charged it and why.
If you are still paying obligations out of pooled or joint funds the approach often is to continue to pay reasonable family or marital expenses charged on credit cards from that pool. This assumes normal and typical use of the credit cards based on the past history of usage.
Once the finances are separated each person usually becomes responsible for his or her own debts including future credit card charges. Outstanding balances on credit cards are allocated between parties and, depending on the circumstances, may be taken into account in the overall settlement. Allocation of the balances could reflect whether someone has received a benefit from what is charged such as, for example, receiving whatever is charged on the card. Also considered is whether the charge was an appropriate marital expense. Who is obligated on the card might also be a practical consideration.
Separating the finances is sometimes complicated and may involve implementing agreements on a variety of matters such as child support, spousal support (alimony) and the award of a home that comes with a mortgage obligation.
All of the financial issues including credit cards are reviewed in the collaborative process. A joint decision is made to manage them in a way that is both practical and fair to both parties. The beauty of the collaborative process is that arrangements can be made after exploring the relative benefits of all options.

By: Melanie S. DeStigter, Attorney, Mediator & Collaborative Lawyer