Divorce

Am I Really Responsible for the DIRECT BUY Debt After Divorce?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

DIRECT BUY Just added a collection to my credit report on 12/2019 pulling my score down significantly.

In divorce I proved my ex husband was responsible for this debt and he agreed in writing as he wanted to keep the account for his contracting business although account was in both our names.

I presume he hasn’t paid because divorce agreement was made in 2015 and debt was just added on 12/2019. DB wants the $3509 balance from me now.

Do I have any options I’ve never stepped foot in the store never made a purchase. My ex has used the account and judge ruled that he could not leave me with the debt in particular because it was his use and he agreed to pay it. Ordered by judge in our divorce case.

Am I responsible for this debt? What can I do? I’m a single mom now wanting to finally purchase the home I’m leasing but this has brought my score down now by 200 points to a 560!!!

Tiffany

Answer:

Dear Tiffany,

You are responsible for the debt based on how the account was opened. You’d have to refer to the original contract to verify that.

Whatever arrangement you came to in your divorce did not change the original contractual terms with the creditor. It was an agreement between the two of you about who was going to pay the bill. It appears he was supposed to and has not.

Your options are to go back to court and try to force him to pay the bill, pay the bill off yourself, attempt to settle the balance due for less, file bankruptcy to eliminate it, or do nothing and let it fester. Be aware, if my assumption is correct that you continue to be responsible for this debt it is possible you could be sued and potentially face a wage garnishment over this.

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I get it. It sucks. But this is a situation faced by so many following a divorce. People assume the divorce agreement supersedes the legal contract, but it doesn’t.

This might be a great time to see what else is being reported on your credit report to make sure there are no other surprises.

One place to monitor your credit reports for free is at CreditKarma.com. There are other services you can use as well but you need to monitor your credit reports closely so you don’t have any more surprises.

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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.

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