27 December 2010 0 Comments

When your spouse does not pay the joint debts

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What happens when your spouse is ordered to pay the credit card debt and doesn’t?  The credit card company will look to you, especially if it was a joint credit card.  Chances are it will affect your credit report.

Even though the judge ordered your spouse to pay off the credit card debt, the account will remain in both of your names until the balance is zero. Even though your divorce decree states that your spouse is required to pay the debt, when you first opened the account you entered into a legal agreement saying you will pay the money according to the agreement.  Counting on your spouse to pay the bill is a risk.  He or she may not have the money or just doesn’t want to pay it out of spite. 

You need to protect your credit rating if this is the case.  Contact all three credit bureaus and get a copy of your credit report.  See what has been reported.  Once you do that, write a short letter to each explaining the situation.  Attaching a copy of the divorce decree showing he or she is responsible for the debt cannot hurt.  Finally, contact your spouse and see if he or she plans on paying the debt – go through his or her attorney if necessary.  If worse comes to worse, pay off the debt to save your credit.

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