Aggressive Representation When The Stakes Are High

Headshot Of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt

Can a collector contact me about my former spouse’s debt?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce involves various procedures, including the division of assets and property. Each state has varying laws to address property and liability division. Maryland courts have the power to resolve debt disputes involving debt associated with the acquisition of property or take other measures, depending on the circumstances.

Still, dealing with debt could be tricky, especially after finalizing the divorce. Divorced couples might expect no involvement with the other party’s debt. However, a debt collector could legally contact them about their former spouse’s overdue payments. The impact of a divorce might only solidify the termination of the couple’s marriage. It does not automatically change agreements with creditors.

Even if a specific loan is no longer a party’s responsibility, the creditor could go after them if the other party fails to meet payment deadlines. These incidents usually happen if both parties co-signed for the debt during the marriage, such as:

  • Joint credit card accounts
  • Car loans
  • Mortgage loans
  • Personal loans
  • Health care bills
  • Utility expenses

Fortunately, a divorced couple could avoid these situations if the debts are specifically addressed in a Separation Agreement, by refinancing the debt or requesting the creditor remove the other party’s name from the liability (the likelihood a creditor would be willing to do that is extremely small). In Maryland, both parties are responsible for a debt if it remains under their names.

Addressing debt after a divorce

A debt, addressed only after divorce is a lost opportunity.  However, if the debt is not addressed until after the divorce is granted it may help to send a copy of the divorce decree to the creditor. However, it would only clarify who is responsible for the loan, not remove liability. These situations could get complicated, so timely seeking sound legal counsel could help determine what to do next.

Regardless of the legal implications, debt collectors must maintain specific standards when contacting debtors. If they exhibit inappropriate practices or harassment, you could formally request they stop or file a complaint at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.