credit cards and money

Should I get my own credit cards before our divorce?


Q. My husband and I are going to split up. He was the bigger earner and I realize most of the credit cards are in his name and I have a second card. My credit score is about 650. Should I apply for new cards only in my name now or wait until we get divorced?
— Thinking about it

A. We’re sorry to hear about your divorce.

You’re smart to start planning for your credit future.

So yes, should consider applying for a new card only in your name now, said Amber Leach, a certified divorce financial analyst with Equitable Advisors/R.I.C.H. Planning Group in Morristown.

Applying for a credit card now where household income is included for pre-approval makes sense to do it now, Leach said.

“First of all, having your own card will give you independence and control. Right now, if you are an authorized user under his name, you have no control over your credit and you are tied to your spouse’s creditworthiness,” she said.

If you are contemplating divorce, she said, the more steps you take to independence now will work in your favor.

Leach said you will want your own credit card that is not tied to your ex-spouse so you can take control and have privacy when making purchases.

“In the divorce process, you will need to create a budget, so the sooner you have an idea of your marital spending and potential post-divorce needs, the better,” she said. “A credit card where you put all of your expenses can help in that process.”

As an authorized user on your ex’s cards, you have been at the mercy of his creditworthiness.

“If your spouse is often late making payments or if he is over extended on various credit cards, then his digressions hurt your credit too,” Leach said.

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This story was originally published on Dec. 16, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.