We just talked about the fact that the Michigan Family court divided both assets and debts when a couple gets divorced. Which brings us to the issue of debt, and what happens after the court has assigned a marital debt to one of the spouses during the divorce. What happens if an important debt is assigned to your soon-to-be-ex, and they don’t (or can’t) pay it?
One person’s debt can be burden for both exes after divorce!
It isn’t uncommon for a couple to part ways, and then for one of them to be placed in a position where they are unable to pay debts the court has assigned to them. So what do you do when your ex is either unwilling or unable to pay their debts? Creditors are now turning to you, pursuing any and all avenues to recoup their money. Do you have any options? Yes you do! Let’s take a look at what you can do:
Ignore it – it doesn’t belong to you!
Your first option is to ignore it. After all, it isn’t legally your responsibility any more, which means that no one can force you to pay what the court assigned to your ex. Sounds easy, right? Sure, but the problem with this approach, is that the credit companies don’t care who’s legally responsible. If the debt is in both your and your ex’s name, it’ll affect your credit score as well. So while you may not be legally responsible for the debt, doing nothing can can come back to haunt you in the form of a ruined credit rating.
Pay the debt, even if it isn’t your responsibility!
Another option is to pay the debt, (even though the court assigned it to your ex!) and then keep proof that it was you who paid it off. This is a hard one because it’s very frustrating to have to pick up your ex’s slack. Especially when you shouldn’t have had to! And yet, if the alternative is having your credit destroyed, it might be worth it.
Because you kept the proof that you paid off your ex’s debt, you would notify the family court that you paid a debt which the court assigned to your ex. The next step would be to file a motion requesting that the court order your ex to reimburse you. However, bear in mind that you can’t squeeze blood from a stone. If your ex is truly in dire financial straits, from a job loss or some other financial hardship, a court order can’t make them give you what they don’t have!
Petition the court to enforce the order!
A final option is petitioning the court to enforce orders placed in the divorce agreement. If the court chooses to enforce the agreement, your ex will be required to appear before the judge and explain exactly why they’re not paying debts that were assigned to them. Depending on the answers they provide, the judge may choose to punish them with fines, or even jail time. If you choose this option be aware that it could add strain to an already strained relationship.
Does filing for bankruptcy get rid of court ordered debt?
Every now and again, the debts a couple accrues during their marriage can be so crippling, that one or both of them ends up choosing to file for bankruptcy. However, if this is the course of action you’re considering, it’s important to know that you won’t get what you want. Bankruptcy can have a very positive impact on your accumulated debt, but it’ll have no bearing on court ordered obligations like child support or spousal support. Court ordered family support always retains priority in a bankruptcy judgment.
Are you concerned about your debts in divorce?
Are considering divorce in Michigan, but have a lot of debt that might complicate the process? You need help from a skilled family law attorney who can help you work towards a fair division of assets and debts. Call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245, and discuss your situation with someone who can help. We are available 24/7, and can provide valuable advice to you during this difficult time.