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Debt from an ex-spouse

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Panicked

Guest
What is the name of your state? TX

My divorce was final in Jan. of 2001. My ex and I split credit card debts. I just recently found out he declared bankruptcy. One of the credit card debts he kept has now sent me a bill. They claim that since it was a joint account I must pay. I just received the first bill Saturday and today (Monday) received a letter that if I do not pay this delinquent account immediately they will take whatever means necessary to collect. What exactly does that mean and what are my rights here? Do I have to pay this debt? It was stated in the divorce decree that this particular credit card debt would be paid by him. If I have to pay it, am I responsible for charges incurred after the divorce was finalized? Help!
 


Ladynred

Senior Member
Creditors don't care what your divorce decree says, they only have YOUR information as a source for money.

First though.. was this a JOINT account ?? Were you a Co-signer or just an authorized user ? If you did NOT sign for the card (co-signer) then you are in NO WAY liable for the debt. Is there a way you can be sure if you signed for this thing or not ?

If he is supposed to pay this debt, you need to contact the court that issued the divorce as he is in contempt for disobeying the court order.
 
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Panicked

Guest
It was a joint account but it was opened so long ago (well over 20 years ago) that I don't remember if I signed or not. What exactly will happen if I just don't pay this? I am working three jobs now to put my daughter through college and pay MY bills. Can they take my car?
 

Ladynred

Senior Member
Is the original creditor billing you or is this coming from a collection agency ? Unfortunately, as a co-signer, you would be responsible for whatever balance he left behind when he filed for BK.

If this is the original creditor, I believe they still would have to prove that your signature was on the contract for you to be liable for it. Creditors are notorious for harassing authorized users and lying about their true liability when they actually have none.

If this is a collection agency, then you can force a validation of the debt from the CA and they have to come across with your signature on a contract to prove that YOU owe any part of the debt. Unfortunately, its much harder to work with an OC, the FDCPA does not govern them at all, as it does with collection agencies.

As for your car.. they probably can't take it, no. Every state has exemptions from judgments for property just like bankruptcy. They would have to sue you before they can take anything. IF they sue, they can possibly garnish your wages, put liens on bank accounts and property. You really need to find out if your truly liable for this.
 
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Panicked

Guest
Thanks a lot for the information. I will write and ask for a copy of the signed contract. Hoping I was only an authorized user.

Panicked.
 

Ladynred

Senior Member
Make sure you send it Certified, return receipt requested :) It gives you paper trail that you may need down the road.
 
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cyana

Guest
Yes, apparently, you have to pay

This is a very common problem and somebody more versed in bk law and divorce law could give you a more coherent answer. Yes,you have to pay if this was a joint acct. Standard reason - BK Federal & Divorce - state. Federal "takes" State, like in chess.

This apparently happens all the time. I just finished a divorce and bk myself. No matter what it says in your "signed" in blood Divorce decree, if an ex-spouse is assigned any joint debt as part of your final settlement agreement, then somewhere down the road decides to file bk for outstanding joint debt, you will still owe. Because your "contract" was with the original creditor and has nothing to with what is in your divorce decree. And yeah, this stinks. And he if has let it get to the collections stage, then the creditor/CA can come after you, sue you, and probably get a judgment. Once that happens you'll be subject all kinds of unpleasant things. Read these boards and you'll be educated in what to do should they "sue" you.

If the amount the CA is after is affordable, I'd advise paying. Otherwise, look to this board for your next step.

Good Luck!
 
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cyana

Guest
Apparently Ladynred is "quicker on the draw" than I am :)

Take Ladynred's advice - she's one of our "unsung" heroines on this board. :D
 

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