Help! Who Is Responsible For The Joint Debt That My Ex Isn't Paying?


Help! Who is Responsible for the Joint Debt that my Ex isn't Paying?

Unfortunately, the creditor is looking for you to honor this debt, which is outside the scope of the divorce decree.

Dear Kim,

My ex-husband and I divorced 2 years ago. As part of the divorce settlement, my ex-husband was responsible to pay off credit card debt that we had jointly in the amount of $20,000.  I received a call from one of the credit card companies advising me that no payment had been made for the last 2 months.  They told me that I needed to make a payment. I explained the divorce situation and was told that this was not relevant and that the lack of payment was affecting my credit, too. How could this be?

Thank you,
Susan M.

Dear Susan,

Let me begin by saying that I am not an attorney, thus I am not providing legal guidance. When you are a co-signer or co-applicant on a debt, you are signing a contract agreeing to be responsible for that debt if the other party does not pay.  Unfortunately, in your case, the creditor is looking for you to honor that contract, which is outside the scope of the divorce decree. To put this simply, the contract with the creditor supersedes the divorce decree, so if your ex-husband does not make a payment, it is then your  responsibility to do so.

If you are in a financial position to make payments, you may want to pay this debt off in full and then recoup your funds from your ex-husband through the courts.

If you are not in a position to make payments on this debt and additional joint debt is a concern, I would recommend speaking with a Certified Credit Counselor for guidance.  The counselor can review the    financial picture as a neutral third-party and perhaps avail you with a more manageable plan to pay off the debt.  Feel free to contact a Navicore Solutions Certified Credit Counselor at 1-800-992-4557.

If your concerns continue, I would advise also reaching out to the attorney that handled your divorce case for legal guidance.

Good luck!


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Kim Cole is the Education Outreach Coordinator for Navicore Solutions. Kim provides financial education workshops and seminars to communities. Readers can submit general questions relating to personal finance, credit scoring, debt management, student loans, home finance or bankruptcy which may be highlighted in the next month's edition. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.

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