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Why divorce doesn’t cancel your responsibility for marital debts

After filing for divorce and having your marital assets and debts divided, you may breathe a sigh of relief. It means the arguing, contention and stress are behind you, right? 

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. 

Even if a marital debt is assigned to your ex-spouse in the divorce decree, creditors can still call and attempt to collect from you. If your name is on the debt, divorce does not “erase” this fact and if your ex fails to pay, the creditor will likely begin aggressive collection efforts against you. 

Limitations of a divorce decree

The divorce decree and property division process won’t change the original credit or loan agreement. You will only be “off the hook” for a debt if your ex refinanced the loan and had your name removed. You are still obligated to pay the debt if this isn’t done. Also, your credit rating will take a hit if the debt is not paid. 

Common areas of confusion

When working to remove your name from debt, there are a few things to understand. For example, just taking your name off the title of a vehicle or home won’t remove it from the credit agreement or loan. Also, sending a copy of the divorce decree to the creditor won’t end your responsibility for the debt. 

In most cases, the only way to be released from debt is described above. It may be necessary to take legal action if your ex doesn’t want to take the right steps and handle the debt they were given in the divorce. 

Knowing your legal options, rights and obligations is essential when dealing with marital debt after a divorce. 

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