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Divorce Debts Not Paid

Q: If a spouse is granted by a divorce judge to receive so much a month for debts that were supposedly not theirs, and we don’t pay or are late on them, does the spouse that’s trying to collect fall under the Fair Debt Collections Act? – Mark

A: Mark,

Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t offer you the help you are hoping it does. The FDCPA applies to outside collection agencies that regularly collect debts for others. Here, it sounds like you have two different issues:

1. Your ex is not paying you the money he or she is supposed to pay you so that you can pay the bills you are supposed to pay. The fact that your ex is not paying you the money spelled out in the divorce decree means you need to pursue her for what she owes you. The FDCPA doesn’t address that scenario. You’ll need to talk with your divorce attorney to find out what you can do to collect the money your ex owes you.

2. It sounds like you are not able to pay debts assigned to you in your divorce decree because your ex is not paying her fair share to you. Unfortunately, the fact that your ex is not paying you doesn’t alter your agreement with those creditors. If those accounts are in your name, or are joint accounts with you as one of the cosigners, you are liable for the entire debt even if your ex skips out on those bills. Again, the divorce decree doesn’t change the agreement with your creditors you signed when you opened those accounts.

If you can’t keep up with the bills assigned to you in your divorce, we recommend you look into negotiating settlements on the debts or talk with a bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you need to file.

We hope you can find a way to put this behind you.

This article was contributed by DebtCollectionAnswers.com, where you can get free advice about dealing with debt collectors.

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