What if he failed to take my name off the loan & credit cards?
If you put your name on a joint credit card, you are liable for paying off the entire balance if your significant other doesn’t. The same is true if your name is on a loan that you and your significant other took out. When a relationship ends, your responsibility to repay that loan does not unless you are taken off of the loan. What happens if your name remains on a joint account?
Creditors Will Come After Either Party
The credit card company that you owe money to doesn’t care if your partner agreed to pay off the balance. All the credit card company cares about is the fact that it has a legal right to seek that money. If your name is still on a credit card, the issuer can come after you and there is nothing that you can do except to work out a payment plan. You may also choose to convince your spouse or partner to pay a portion of the debt as well.
It May Not Be Possible to Refinance
The only way to take your name off of a credit card or loan account is to refinance the balance. With a credit card, your spouse would have to transfer the balance of a joint card to one in his name only. However, it is possible that he will not qualify for a new card with a credit limit high enough to transfer the entire balance from the joint card.
When it comes to other loans, it may be possible to consolidate joint balances into a new loan in your former spouse’s name. Of course, those with bad credit or who don’t own a home may not be able to get a personal loan or a home equity loan to consolidate that debt. If this is the case, your only recourse in the short-term may be to hope that your former husband pays off the balance as agreed.
You May Take Legal Action Against Your Former Spouse
While a creditor may not care about your divorce decree or separation agreement, the courts may certainly care about it. If your former spouse fails to take your name off an agreement or pay any balance owed on a joint debt, you may seek to be compensated for any amount that you ultimately pay. In some cases, you may be awarded actual damages in addition to legal fees and punitive damages depending on the facts in the matter.
File for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy may make it possible to get your name off of joint debts such as credit cards or personal loans. However, it is also possible that your former husband will be hurt by the bankruptcy as well. There is no guarantee that a bankruptcy judge will discharge the debts in a Chapter 7 case. Therefore, your best bet may be to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and have payments restructured if you can’t afford them at this point.
If your name has not been removed from a credit card or loan account, creditors may call or take other actions. It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who may be able to help you work with creditors or work with your former spouse to come to an amicable resolution.