Do I have to pay all bills off beforeI take my ex to court?

I recently went through a divorce. The last time I saw my ex was close to a year ago. In the divorce papers it says we split half the bills. However he hasn’t paid at all and since I’m the only one the bill collectors can get a hold of they have been harassing me for all of it even though I pay what I can a month. Also, I recently found out that my ex is writing bad checks with an account that still has my name on it. Will I be put in jail for it or do I have to take him to court for that as well?

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Family Law, Colorado


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  When you say "in the divorce papers" do you mean your agreement that you entered in to, the judge's order and decree or both of them?  Because you can haul him back in to court based upon all of the above but the type of motion that you bring will depend on the document involved.  Most of the time the order issued by the judge incorporated your agreement in to it so you are covered.  When you sue some one based upon a contract - which is what your agreement is - you can sue them to compel that they indeed comply with the agreement.  When you bring them to court because they have violated the court's order you are requesting that the court hold them in contempt.  If they are combined, so to speak and I think that they are - then you can do both.  You do not have to pay the creditors off first.  If you do though you can request a judgement for paying off his debt owed and then try and collect on the judgement.  But he can possibly discharge it in a bankruptcy.  You need to weigh the options here with legal advice from some one that can see what they are dealing with in front of them.  Good luck.

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