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Can I be held responsible for my ex’s debt?

Most couples accrue at least some debt during their marriage. If you are divorced, what you owed from credit cards, auto loans, your home mortgage and other debts was most likely divided by the court, since Kentucky is an equitable distribution state. You might have been told you had to repay a portion of the marital debt while your ex-spouse was responsible for the rest.

However, what happens if your ex does not pay his or her share? For example, you might have been responsible for paying off the house, while your ex was ordered by the judge to pay the credit cards and car loans. If he or she stops paying, are you responsible if debt collectors start contacting you?

You might think you are safe since the divorce decree outlines the types of debt you and your ex are both responsible for. Unfortunately, this does not prevent creditors from seeking repayment from you if your ex defaults, according to CNN Money. If a credit card account was opened up in both of your names and your ex stops paying, the lender may legally try to obtain payment from you, the other signer of the loan. This is also true for home mortgages, car loans and other types of debt that you both accrued during the marriage. Ignoring payment requests or failing to make arrangements with the lender can also have a negative impact on your credit report.

Dealing with an ex’s debt can be frustrating, but it might be in your best interests to address the debt first to keep it from hitting your credit. You might later decide whether you wish to pursue the matter against your ex in court. This information, however, should not take the place of legal advice.

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