Your Ex’s Debt May Still be Your Headache

Ignoring Debt, Even Your Ex’s Debt Has Consequences. 

In a recent question put to Lawyer Mark K. McCown at “It’s the Law” in Ohio; an ex-husband had received notice of a debtor “judgment exam” and wanted to know if he had to attend.  The answer was a resounding YES.  Attorney McCown explained that a debtor judgment exam follows a judgment.  It is a legal proceeding which is  intended to discover assets and debts to determine whether and how you can pay the debt.  The bottom line is: if you receive a notice of suit filed by a creditor that, per the divorce decree, your ex is supposed to pay, you still should answer the suit.

Why Your Ex’s Debt is Still Your Problem:

When you and your spouse get joint credit, you both sign for financial responsibility on that credit.  (Even if you did not sign, your attorney should still answer the suit, but make sure your attorney is aware you never signed for that debt).  According to attorney Mark K. McCown, the divorce decree states who is responsible for each of your accounts, but does not render you invulnerable to the earlier obligation.  If you are sued for default on an account, answer the suit.  You may be able to sue your ex for reimbursement of payment you make to cure the debt, but if you don’t answer the lawsuit, a default judgment is likely and the amount you will have to pay will rise.  Keep in mind, if you were named on the suit, you are being held responsible for the debt.  The longer the creditor attempts to collect on the debt, the more you are likely to owe, including the debt, any accumulated unpaid interest and mounting legal fees. More, when your ex stops paying on the debt, it will still report on both credit reports, which can hamper your ability to obtain credit you need.

A divorce is messy enough without complicating the pain of overwhelming debt.  at we help connect you to a debt and credit counselor who can review your finances and help you find your way out of the mountain of debt.