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My Husband is Supposed to Pay My Debt in the Divorce But He’s Not. – Jessica

“Dear Steve,

My ex husband and I have about $30k in credit card debt. He agreed to take it in the divorce settlement but it is all in my name.

He isn’t paying everything as he needs to be and I’m getting all the collection calls. Telling the creditors that he is responsible and giving them copies of the divorce decree doesn’t seem to matter. I want to know if I have to file bankruptcy, is it only going to affect me or him as well since it was debt we accrued while married? I am not going to do it if he gets of scott free. All the accounts have been closed and have not been used since before the divorce so there is no new debt on them, only mutual debt.

If I file bankruptcy because of my ex-husbands failure to make payments on our debt that is in my name, will it affect him as well or only me?

Jessica”

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The Answer

 

Dear Jessica,

When you divorce, you separate from your spouse, not your debt. The divorce arrangement is an agreement between the two of you, not between you and your creditors. Your creditors could care less about whatever repayment arrangement you made with your ex-husband. It’s your debt.

If he fails to pay or does not pay on a timely basis and it is in your name, it ruins your credit, not his. Unfortunately all of this falls on you.

If he is not going to pay it you have two choices. The first is that you could pursue him through your divorce attorney and the courts for payment. Second, you can go bankrupt and discharge the debt. If the debt is in your name alone then he does get off scott free in a way. Once you go bankrupt the creditors will not go after him.

This is not a problem that began with the divorce but at the time the credit was taken out in your name alone. If the debt had been in joint accounts then if you went bankrupt the creditors would go after him.

Bottom line, if you can’t pay the debt and you don’t want to be sued for any of this debt and you want to get out from under the collection calls then your bankruptcy is the answer. Otherwise, if you want to try to punish your ex-husband for not paying, leaving this debt to sit and rot is not the way to do it.

I am sympathetic to your plight. It is one I see over and over again and it never has a “perfect” outcome. The spouse being wronged always feels like they have been screwed over once again.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

Big Hug!

My Husband is Supposed to Pay My Debt in the Divorce But Hes Not.   Jessica
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My Husband is Supposed to Pay My Debt in the Divorce But He's Not. - Jessica by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Steve Rhode

    That sounds like a question to ask your divorce attorney or other local state licensed legal representation.

  • Cmercer38

    I divorced my ex-husband and it was finalized in 2009. In June 2009 until present day, ex husband was required to pay the mortgage using court ordered alimony and child support. I found out in Jan 2010 that ex husband didn’t use the alimony and child support to pay mortgage via interception of letter from the bank most of 2009. I went back to court. Judge ordered ex husband to provide me up to date info re: mortgage. Ex husband didn’t. Therefore, not knowing whether or not house would foreclose, I moved into a rental unit in April 2010. Moving forward, house is now up for sale.. It is a short sale because the house is in foreclosure proceedings. Found out the ex husband owed $90K in mortgage payments. The ex husband still hasn’t provided up to date info re: the mortgage. Question. Can I sue the ex husband for the 50% of the 90K lost in equity due to not paying mortgage? Please advise because I am nearly broke.

  • Cmercer38

    I divorced my ex-husband and it was finalized in 2009. In June 2009 until present day, ex husband was required to pay the mortgage using court ordered alimony and child support. I found out in Jan 2010 that ex husband didn’t use the alimony and child support to pay mortgage via interception of letter from the bank most of 2009. I went back to court. Judge ordered ex husband to provide me up to date info re: mortgage. Ex husband didn’t. Therefore, not knowing whether or not house would foreclose, I moved into a rental unit in April 2010. Moving forward, house is now up for sale.. It is a short sale because the house is in foreclosure proceedings. Found out the ex husband owed $90K in mortgage payments. The ex husband still hasn’t provided up to date info re: the mortgage. Question. Can I sue the ex husband for the 50% of the 90K lost in equity due to not paying mortgage? Please advise because I am nearly broke.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      That sounds like a question to ask your divorce attorney or other local state licensed legal representation.

  • Alicia

    I have the same exact problem. In my case also, my ex husband opened one of my credit cards without my knowledge or permission during our marriage and put over 8k of debt on it. He also agreed to take all the debt in our divorce as I was a stay at home mom homeschooling the kids when he decided to abandon us. Now since he is living with another woman and taking care of her kids he doesn’t have the money to pay my credit cards anymore. He wants me to declare bankrupcy but I’ve alrady been through enough and don’t feel like I should do this just to help him out. My question is, is there any way I can legally get his wages garnished?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Alicia,

      You could go after him through the court and if you win a judgment you could then go back to court and go for a garnishment. You may want to seek help and advice from a local attorney before trying something like this.

      Steve

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