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My Wife and I are Headed for Divorce. Am I Responsible for Her Debt? – Fred

“Dear Steve,

My wife and I are headed for divorce. She accumulated several credit card’s in her name only. Am I responsible for this debt? If and when she leaves, I would like to keep the house, but will struggle without her income.

She has only been responsible for paying the utilities. My credit score is low around (544) with one of the agencies, so refinancing may not be an answer. I would sell, but I am afraid that I would be unable to buy in the same area for my kids sake (school). I have just recently paid off one loan and two major credit cards in settlements. Total owed was 21k and I paid to their satisfaction $8500.

What are my chances of getting into a home that I can afford on my own with my current credit score? Is there a possibility that I could get my current interest rate lowered to cut my house payment by $200 or $300 a month?


Dear Fred,

Your credit score is in the toilet from the debt settlements and it is doubtful that any respectable lender is going to give you a loan based on your upcoming situation.

You can always contact your current lender and see what options exist for you in a loan modification to lower your monthly payment. Don’t get discouraged, most people that try for a modification are rebuffed by the lender. It never hurts to ask.

If the debt was in the name of your wife alone and you were not an applicant, then it is her responsibility. But, the division of debt will be part of the divorce negotiations between the two of you. If at all possible, and fair, let her assume responsibility for her own debts.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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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.


  • Hi, I’m separated since April 2010 and I didn’t use the credit card very much since then. And closed it out in Aug 2010 to help pay it off. Is she responsible to pay that off including her half of the credit card bill ? We are going to get a divorce soon. Please advise, Brian.

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