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Your responsibility if an ex does not pay debt

When couples in Florida divorce, debt is an issue that is frequently addressed. Marital property, such as the family’s home and vehicles, must be divided, and shared debts are treated the same. What happens if one ex-spouse does not repay the debt that he or she has been ordered by the court to pay?

According to The Florida Legislature, Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that any debt belonging to both spouses will be divided by a family law judge, not necessarily equally, but in a way that is fair to each spouse. For example, the spouse who earns less may be required to pay back less of the marital debt. Also, “marital debt” pertains to debt that was accrued by both spouses during the marriage, such as credit card loans and a home mortgage. Debt that was owed by one spouse before the marriage would, in most cases, be considered that spouse’s debt alone.

However, states CNN Money, lenders are not held to the terms of a divorce decree. A credit card lender may have the right to try to collect a debt from the other spouse, if the one who was ordered to pay it defaults on the payments. Failing to repay the loan may negatively impact one’s credit report, whether or not the divorce decree says that spouse was responsible for paying.

It may be possible to take the non-paying spouse back to court to enforce a court order. First, however, it might be necessary to make payments on the defaulted loan to protect one’s credit, as well as to prevent further collection actions.

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