Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Taking care of minor issues in a divorce prevents major problems

A fresh start can be exciting for Salt Lake City residents. While divorce is often thought of as being the end of a marriage, it is also the beginning of a new life for the individual involved.

That being said, there are a number of issues that have to be taken care of properly in the divorce in order for the individual to be able to have that fresh start. Otherwise, the lingering divorce legal issues can drag on well after the court proceeding is finished.

For instance, when spouses share joint accounts, as is often the case, individuals should recognize how to deal with these accounts in the divorce agreement or court proceeding. If both individuals' names remain on the joint account following the divorce, then one individual could be held liable for the other's failure to make payments. Indeed, in some cases, a spiteful ex-spouse may intentionally rack up debt that can be enforced against the other individual.

This can not only result in legal liability for the individual who was not responsible for the payment issue, but also harm to that person's credit, which can make future transactions more difficult. Accordingly, these issues need to be addressed in the divorce to avoid future harm.

In many cases, this means the ex-spouse needs to be removed from joint accounts. Alternatively, the person may choose to close the account and re-open a new account that only bears his or her name, rather than the ex-spouse's name.

Ultimately, joint accounts are just one issue that need to be considered in a divorce. Even these relatively minor steps can save major heartache that would otherwise result if these issues are not taken care of during the divorce.

Source: US News & World Report, "5 ways divorce affects your credit," Paul Sisolak, April 14, 2016

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