Why Are My Ex Husband’s Debts are Ruining My Credit in Alabama?

The general rule is that if you are a co-debtor or co-signor (joint obligor) on a loan you are as responsible for the debt as the person whose name appears on the first line of the paperwork (primary obligor). Although the lender will generally expect the primary obligor to make the payments, they can come after the joint obligor any time the payment is late or the loan goes into default. Default simply means that payments are past any grace period. Most loans can be considered “in default” if the payment is a day late.

The problem with being jointly obligated with someone else on any loan is that as the co-obligor you may not know that the loan is in default because you may not be receiving statements. If you don’t verify every single month that the payments have been made, when the payments are late or when the loan goes into default it appears as a black mark on your credit. That is why I strongly caution signing on any loan unless you are in control of the payments. There is little, if anything, you can do to fix your credit once this has happened.

If you were married when you incurred the debt together you are still legally responsible to the creditor even if your divorce decree says otherwise. Most divorce decrees are worded so that the person responsible for the payments will “hold harmless and indemnify” the other person which simply means that if the lender comes after you, you can go after your ex for the payments. You need to file a motion in divorce court to have your ex held in contempt of court for violating the divorce decree, which is a court order. The divorce decree does not get you off the hook with the original lender and cannot help with your credit report now, it simply gives you the right to seek recourse from your ex.

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