As you prepare for divorce, there’s no escaping the fact that property and debt division will guide many of the most important decisions you make.

If you have any amount of joint credit card debt with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s critical that you deal with it in the appropriate manner. Doing so reduces the risk of making a mistake that costs you time and/or money in the future.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Tally your joint credit card debt: This is easy enough if you have one joint credit card, but can be more difficult if you have debt spread over several. You want to know exactly how much you owe together.
  • Talk to your spouse: It’s not required, as you’ll have time to deal with joint credit card debt during the divorce process, but you may want to consider getting it out of the way. For example, if you have enough money in a joint savings account, you can use it to pay off all your joint credit card debt. This gives you one less thing to concern yourself with during your divorce.
  • Use a balance transfer credit card: If you don’t have the money to pay off your debt or lack the desire to do so, a balance transfer credit card is the way to go. With this, both individuals can take on half the debt in their name only. At that point, you’re on your own to manage the debt however you best see fit.
  • Don’t keep using it: Once you decide to divorce, it’s critical that you stop using your joint credit cards. Just the same, keep an eye out to ensure that your spouse does the same. You don’t want them adding to your balance, as you’ll be responsible for half of it.

It’s not always easy to deal with and manage joint credit card debt in divorce, but there are things you can do to ease the stress and avoid mistakes.

As you learn more about your legal rights, as they pertain to debt division, you can formulate a plan to follow.