Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Divorce Suicide

My Ex-Husband Committed Suicide With Me Still On His Credit Cards

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

My ex husband died, suicide. We have been divorced 7 years. We had no outstanding credit card debt when divorced. There is an attorney handling his estate and I was contacted and told that there are 2 credit cards that still have my name on them and there is now a balance owed.

All charges within the last 12 to 15 months. The estate has no intention of pursuing me as they know it is solely his debt, but admits that there is not enough proceeds to cover the balances.

Will I be responsible for that Debt? Will the creditors pursue me?

What can I do to fight it?

Shannon

Answer:

Dear Shannon,

Suicide is such a tragedy. I’m so sorry this happened in your life.

When you got divorced you legally separated from your spouse, not your creditors. So any joint credit cards you had before your divorce that were not closed, left you jointly responsible for the debt on those cards.

This is an issue people face all the time after divorce. They believe when they get a divorce it breaks all the bonds that tied people together. That’s just not true. You can divorce your spouse but not your creditors.

Your first line of defense should be to contact an attorney who is licensed in your state who can give you specific advice regarding your exact situation. Armed with the facts, you can then be better prepared for what might come, including being pursued for this joint debt.

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READ  My Ex-Husband is a Jerk When it Comes to Paying My Credit Card as He Promised in the Divorce. - Casey



About the author

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.

4 Comments

  • Neither the letter from Shannon nor the responses asked if she was a joint holder or if she was an “authorized user”. If an authorized user, she may not be responsible for the debt but she does need to remove herself from the cards. I am very surprised her attorney(s), never inquired regarding finances given that it is required during proceedings that each party disclose their financial position, expenses etc. Very strange.

  • I understand hindsight is always 20/20. I understand it is too late for Shannon, but after a divorce a debtor needs to review their credit reports, credit cards, etc… for any joint liabilities. If any are found, then the burden is on the debtor to be removed from that agreement. I empathize with Shannon. I hope she gets good advice from an attorney, but she needs to be realistic about the ramifications of each course of action.

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