How Getting Divorced Can Hurt Your Personal Credit


How Getting Divorced Can Hurt Your Personal Credit


What happens when you get divorced and you have debt?



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,


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 when the other party does not pay. Unfortunately 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 supersedes the divorce decree, so if your ex-husband does not pay, it is your responsibility to do so.

Read More: My Ex-Husband is Refusing to Pay HIS Debt- But They're in My Name Too

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 unable to make payments on this debt and additional joint debt is a concern, I would recommend speaking with a Certified Credit Counselor at 1-800-992-4557. The counselor can look at the financial picture as a neutral third party and perhaps avail you with a more manageable plan to pay off the debt. If your concerns continue, please reach 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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