When an Ex Defaults on Debt After Divorce

Past Due Photo
Tips for Helping Children Deal with the Stress of Divorce

As part of the division of property in divorce, the marital debt will also have to be split between the parties. The court will determine how this debt is to be split up when couples cannot come to an agreement on their own, and the final determinations will be detailed in the divorce decree.

Just because a divorce decree orders one party to repay certain debts, however, does not mean that:

  • This party will, in fact, be diligent about repayment.
  • The other party will be off of the hook for repayment, as creditors can legally still come after both parties associated with joint debts regardless of what the finaldivorce decree states.

So, what happens when an ex fails to live up to his or her obligations to repay certain marital debts following divorce? What are your options if this happens to you?

After Exes Default

If your ex has anchored you with the debt (s)he was supposed to cover as part of the terms of your divorce, some of your options for dealing with the situation include (but may not be limited to):

  • Filing a motion with the court to indicate that an ex is violating a final divorce decree – The court can take further action, such as deeming someone in contempt, imposing fines, etc., when appropriate.
  • Asking for a verification of the debt – Just because you were notified that you owe money on an ex’s debt does not make that debt valid (or the creditor legitimate). So request a verification of the debt.
  • Paying it off – If the debt is legitimate and your ex has left you in lurch as the sole party that creditors can come after for repayment (because, for instance, (s)he has filed for bankruptcy), one option is to simply pay off the debt in full if you are able to. The longer you wait to take action, more interest will accrue, increasing the debt. If you can’t pay it off, however, consider either of the next options, which involve…
  • Negotiating a settlement – Another possibility may be to try to work out a settlement with the creditor. These companies would rather get something (as opposed to losing out altogether), and they can be more willing to accept a settlement for less than the full amount of the debt when people are able to pay them off relatively soon (like within 30 to 60 days in some cases).
  • Considering other debt relief options – If your divorce has left you as financially distressed as an ex who has defaulted on debt, it may be time to consider other professional debt relief options, such as bankruptcy. Discussing your situation with an attorney first is advisable.
Contact a Scottsdale Divorce Attorney at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau

When you are serious about protecting your interests in divorce, you can rely on Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex cases related to divorce, custody, paternity and other issues.

To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-209-1918or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.

Client Reviews
Karen is highly respected in the legal community. She is effective and thorough. Karen just keeps going regardless of the odds.
★★★★★
Karen was extremely helpful setting up my petition for conciliation. She is by far the most knowledgeable attorney regarding the necessary paperwork, how to file the petition and where it has to be submitted. She listened intently when I was describing my situation and intentions. She was very responsive to my questions and request. She is trustworthy and diligent . I would recommend her to anyone having marital issues. Mark
★★★★★
Very high customer/client considerate. We found Karen when we were forced to leave another Phoenix lawyer due to his bad advice and lack of interest to help us. We were in Phoenix for six days from Michigan with nothing happening but a high wasted expense. Karen and her firm took us in and solved our issue with the courts etc. in two and a half days. Karen’s professionalism with us was very cost effective/productive. If we would have found her first, we would have saved thousands of dollars. Her interest for us was very high. She returned every call. She knew every answer to our questions. She did this for us with a death in her family. She left for a funeral and made sure we were treated with the same professionalism from her firm to finish up. I recommend Karen and her firm with very high satisfaction. Our case is custody with one parent in prison. We will return to Phoenix someday with interests for the child and his parent, if needed. Karen will be our top choice. Nolan
★★★★★
Karen and Bonita are wonderful!! I know that the word "wonderful" is used a lot, but the team they make and the work they did for me can only be described as WONDERFUL!! Yes there where ups and downs in my case, but that is the system and Karen along with Bonita guided and taught me as "WE" went through it together. Karen’s easy going manner and her knowledge really helped me with the emotional part of my divorce. I used the team of Karen and Bonita both times I needed to go to court with my ex and had results that were best for my little girl. Some times I did not get what I wanted, but it was what my daughter needed. Looking back at my case, I made the right choice and would do it again in a heart beat!! Jim
★★★★★
Karen was extremely supportive during a very trying time in our lives. She helped me to put things in perspective and think positive when I was overwhelmed. She is very knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to grandparents rights and the rights of the parents and knew how to provide the appropriate laws pertaining to the situation we were in. I am so grateful for her expertise and guidance. She proved to be very aggressive when she needed to be but was also supportive to my and my children. I would recommend her to anyone in a similar situation. Deanna
★★★★★