How can you avoid debt problems in divorce?

Dividing up debts in a divorce is something that happens often. Debts may get allocated between you and your spouse. Then sometime later, after the divorce, you may find out that your ex-spouse has not been paying the debts they were ordered to pay in the divorce. The creditor of that ex-spouse may come after you.

A divorce judge may not change a creditor’s rights, so a creditor is not a party to your divorce case. According to InCharge, any orders the judge makes about who pays what debts only apply between the parties. They do not apply to third-party creditors. So when your ex-spouse is ordered to pay certain debts and they fail to pay them, those creditors may have the ability to come back on you for those debts. If those creditors come back on you and you pay those debts, your only remedy at that point is to sue your ex-spouse for a judgment for the amounts that you had to pay to that creditor.

Creditors will rarely come after you for debt that does not show up on your credit report. If you are not on the credit application for a debt, you should not be responsible for the debt that resulted. If you did not sign the credit application for a loan (debt), the creditor is unlikely to come after you when the spouse who did sign the credit application fails to pay the debt.

Another way to avoid these problems is to do a debt transfer. If you have a joint credit card and you want to make sure that debt does not come back on, part of the agreement could be that your soon to be ex-spouse gets a new credit account in just their name and transfers the joint debt to that separate credit account.