Joint debt is considered to be any debt created by one or both spouses during the marriage. Upon divorce in Florida, the court decides which spouse is responsible for which joint debt. However, divorce court orders do not affect creditors, who will likely hold both partners liable for joint debt regardless of which spouse the court deemed liable. Common joint debts may include car loans, mortgages, credit card debt or other lines of credit. Below we answer some common questions about how joint debts are handled after divorce.
When a couple goes through a divorce in Florida, problems may arise if the spouse that was required by the court to pay the debt does not do so. Even if the final judgment in a divorce decree requires one spouse to be fully responsible for the joint debt, that order holds no jurisdiction over the creditor. The creditor is likely to seek payment from the other spouse if the one ordered to pay fails to.
If you’ve gone through a divorce in Florida and a creditor is coming after you for a joint debt the court ordered your ex to pay, one option is to pay the debt and then return to court to ask for reimbursement from your ex. This may include garnishing your ex’s wages.
Your credit score will likely be affected when a joint debt goes unpaid, regardless of who the court deemed liable.
In a divorce in Florida, spouses cannot legally remove one another’s names from a binding agreement with a creditor, nor can a court order it. It is not within the court’s power to relieve either spouse of a joint debt. That power only lies with the creditor who is not likely to remove either spouse’s name from the account. Each spouse, therefore, has an individual obligation to the lender to repay the debt.
When faced with divorce and joint debt, using an experienced family law firm like Parker & DuFresne can help save you thousands of dollars over the long run as well as empower you with the necessary knowledge to make sound choices for you and your family. We are committed to giving you honest counsel about your case and to achieving the most advantageous result for you. You’ll have a dedicated team of compassionate lawyers and staff who are experienced in guiding clients through life-changing transitions. Call today for a consultation.
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