Paying the Bills on Time

Couples in the midst of a divorce very often lose many of their established routines, for example, who pays what bills when. It’s not that they don’t have the money; it’s just that in the enormous confusion and dislocation of a separation, one or both spouses simply forget to pay the bill.

Creditors are unmoved by such excuses. Late payments not only mean late charges (an expense that no one wants and divorcing couples can ill afford) but also increase the risk of damaged credit ratings. And the last thing a divorcing person wants to add to his or her list of woes and worries is a damaged credit rating.

Preventing late or missed payments usually means that the couple work out some kind of interim routine about paying the bills. Prompt payment of the regular bills (mortgage, utilities, property taxes) is worth cooperating with a separated spouse.

Many divorce financial planners recommend that the separating couple immediately cancel any joint credit cards and transfer the unpaid balance to a card in the name of the spouse who will responsible for its payment.

When it comes to bills, divorcing couples should remember joint and several liability. This means that a creditor can move against either spouse for a bill that is in both their names.

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