Will I be liable for ex spouses debt? 14 Answers as of August 01, 2011

After divorce 12 years ago, I just found out that I have a joint account still open with the ex who is filing Chapter 7. I was not aware or told about this until my credit recently took a severe hit and I called to ask what happened. This debt was charged by the ex spouse and now I understand that I will be liable for it? What are my options-can I sue later for the debt? Should I pay it or not pay and see what happens, the credit is already ruined, what course of action do I take now? This is so unfair.

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
What is in your marital settlement agreement? If the debt was assigned to your ex (and it was in the nature of support), the ex owes you what you pay on it. If there is nothing in the marital settlement agreement you are out of luck. The creditor will come after you. You might want to check o the last time the account was used or a payment was made. Maybe there is a statute of limitations defense. You need 4 years for that.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/1/2011
Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
Go back to the divorce court and ask that the ex pay the amount you are obligated on due to the failure to take you off the account.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/29/2011
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/26/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
if it is a joint account they you can be liable
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/26/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
You didn't tell us what your divorce said about joint and separate debts. The answer as to your remedies depends on that language. Regardless, if you allowed the account to stay open, that was your negligence and the creditor can pursue you.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    You should be able to file a motion in the court that handled the divorce to get an order that she is alone responsible for the debt and that she must "defend, indemnify and hold you harmless" from it. You can also dispute the credit report that the debt is yours, stating the date of the divorce and citing California Family Code section 916.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    If you signed for the debt you are liable for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    The only way you can potentially get this resolved is if the joint account was assigned to you ex in the final divorce judgment. If it was then you can make her pay through the divorce court. Yes it seems very unfair. The other thing yo may be able to do is file a complaint to determeine the debt non-dischargeable through the Bankruptcy court as theses charges as to you may be fraudulent. If you do nothing then they will come after you eventually.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Who owes debts after a divorce depends on the judgment of divorce. If the divorce was silent both parties are liable for debts incurred before separation. A creditor can collect against someone who is named on the account. As between the parties debts incurred after separation are owed by the person who incurred the debt. This means you can sue your ex-spouse if you end up paying the debt due to collection activities. Whether you should pay or not depends on the circumstances, for instance, are you concerned about negative credit reporting. You should seek the advice of an attorney if you are uncertain of what to do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC | Amber Morgan Florio, Attorney at Law
    When was the debt incurred? If it was incurred during your marriage, then it is possible that you may be stuck with the debt. However, if it was incurred AFTER you and your husband legally divorced, then you should not be liable for the debt that was incurred after the divorce. If the debt was incurred after the divorce, send a copy of the divorce decree to the company who is trying to collect the debt, stating that you were not married at the time the debt was incurred.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    It is unfair. So is the law, unfortunately. It was wrong of her to use that card, and a consumer lawyer may be able to help. You could try to object with the reporting agencies, but they listen to creditors. You could try to object with the creditor but all they want is their money. You could try to sue her, but it would cost you and you'd probably lose. Bankruptcy will remove this from your record and your liability, and is probably best. Sorry for your troubles.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    The Port Law Firm
    The Port Law Firm | Edward Port
    There are many factors to consider, but normally if this was a joint account you may remain liable. You should look to your Marriage Settlement Agreement, how did it address the debt? Did she violate the agreement? If she did the debt may be no-dischargeable in a bankruptcy. Seek professional advice.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton | Daniel Moulton
    You are responsible for the debt, but your divorce decree may cover such an issue. You usually can't sue a co-signer unless he fraudulently induced you to co-sign. There is also a 10 year statue of limitations for a breach of contract, so the creditor has a time limit on when he can sue.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/25/2011
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