Can I be held responsible for my ex-wife’s utility bill?

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2011

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Can I be held responsible for my ex-wife’s utility bill?

our local gas company is refusing to turn on our gas until the bill that is in my ex-wife’s name is paid off. She had put me on the account so that I could call if I ever needed too. The bill is more than 3 years old and I have had services with them in my name since and had no problems. In our divorce decree it states that the name on the bill is the personal responsible. Its in her name so can they hold me responsible for it?

Asked on September 15, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your problems.  Here is the issue: the gas company was not a party to your divorce and is not bound by the contract that you and your wife entered in to or the orders of the court about debt. I guess what happened is that once you put your name on the bill as a contact person to speak with them they assumed you were married and attached her bill to the account in your name.  Now you are going to have to fight an up hill battle.  You are going to have to sue her based upon the divorce decree and to either pay the bill and be reimbursed (you should be able to obtain a judgement and hopefully collect on it) or just request that she comply (but your gas service may be cut off).  It is not an easy choice.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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