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How Hard Is It to Dump Your Ex-Spouse’s Debts?


Your ex-spouse’s financial habits ruined your marriage and contributed to the tough financial situation you are in now that your divorce has become final.  Your ex took out student loans for a second master’s degree when she still owed a balance on the loans for the bachelor’s degree she earned before you met and the first master’s degree she earned early in your marriage.  Your ex’s job laid him off early in the pandemic, so he embarked on a second career collecting expensive bourbon until your savings and your patience had run out.  Your ex thought that all employment that did not operate on a multilevel marketing business model was beneath her.  Your ex opened a series of small businesses with his brother, but none of them ever became profitable.  That is all in the past now, and now you can focus on getting out of debt.  It is no longer your problem if your ex defaults on his debts and files for bankruptcy, but that does not mean that your ex-spouse’s debts cannot affect you after your divorce.  If you are still stressed out about your ex-spouse’s debts, contact a Jupiter bankruptcy and divorce lawyer.

Equitable Distribution of Marital Debts

No divorce can become final until the court approves a plan to distribute the couple’s marital assets and debts.  All assets and debts that originated during the marriage are marital, regardless of who paid for them or who borrowed them.  In most cases, the spouses agree during mediation about how they will divide their debts after divorce.  If they cannot agree on how to divide their property and debts, the judge will decide this at trial.  Because of Florida’s equitable distribution laws, judges can decide on a case-by-case basis the fairest way to divide marital property and debts.  Therefore, it is technically possible for you to be on the hook for your ex-spouse’s car loan or credit card debt, even though this usually does not happen unless you and your ex agreed to it during divorce mediation.

What Happens If Your Ex Files for Bankruptcy After Your Divorce?

Once your divorce is final, your ex-spouse’s debts are not your responsibility, except any debts that the court assigned to you.  If your ex falls behind on her credit card bills or BNPL payments, it is not your problem and does not affect your credit.  Your ex has the same right as anyone to file for bankruptcy.  While your ex’s bankruptcy case is pending, the creditors may contact you about debts that originated during your marriage, which your ex is now trying to discharge, but you do not have to pay them.  This could go on for a long time if your ex filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, since this type of bankruptcy filing takes several years before discharging eligible debts.  Alimony and child support cannot be discharged in bankruptcy; if your ex can’t afford them, the only way to reduce the amount owed is to go to court and ask the judge to modify the court order.

Work With a Debt Lawyer About Leaving Your Ex-Spouse’s Debts in the Dust

A South Florida debt lawyer can help you tell creditors to get lost if they bug you about your ex-spouse’s debts.  Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Jupiter, Florida to discuss your case.



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