Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,671
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
Re: Ex Did a Terrible Thing... Is My Credit Ruined?
[ Edited ]

In my state the major difference between a Legal Separation and Divorce is mostly the word "Divorce". Most people that think they are legally separated are not, they are just in the process of getting a divorce. The court will issue temporary orders and may go back to a certain date and call it Date of Separation where some of your assets, debts, etc are divided. Other asset, debts, etc. are divided at the very end regardless. If you actually are Legally Separated, which in my state means a Judgement of Legal Separation was filed, then you may have some protection.


Unless your laws are very different than mine, that won't help on a joint debt and there is nothing that says the two joint owners of a CC are married, living in the same state, etc. In other words, if the account is joint, it is your debt. If the debt is joint or if you don't have a filed Judgement of Legal Separation, then there would be little stopping a creditor from getting you to pay the debt. You probably don't want to assume that there is no concern about spousal support unless your attorney has told you that. I could easily see the creditor or your ex's BK judge getting the Family Court to order you to pay Spousal Support so the debt could be paid. Same for any house or car you buy. If proving his incompetence is a good idea and wouldn't result in making your position worse, I could still see your legal bills exceeding the debt. When you start paying attorneys to argue about $20K, the only person that wins is usually the attorneys.


Having a Family Court Judge force the parties to sell a house or file BK is not even unusual. I've personally watched where the husband got $150K and the wife kept a house with $150K in equity. The husband wasted the money and didn't pay the bills. The judge ordered the house sold to pay the bills at which point the broke, out-of-work husband still had debts but now "owed" the wife $150K, which he couldn't pay so he just filed BK.