If I’ve been paying a debt to my soon-to-be ex-wife’s father, can I suspend further payment until the divorce decision?

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If I’ve been paying a debt to my soon-to-be ex-wife’s father, can I suspend further payment until the divorce decision?

My wife and I signed a document agreeing to pay a debt to her father during our marriage. My wife doesn’t have a job, so I’ve been paying all debts while we wait for trial. Do I have to continue paying the debt to her father as well, or can I suspend further payment until after the decision?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You cannot suspend paying a debt to a third party. You and your wife are jointly and severally liable to your father in law for that money. That means, if you borrowed ten thousand dollars, you owe the ten thousand dollars. You can always seek contribution from your wife but this was a marital debt so your payments still need to continue to your father in law and you can address any reimbursement issues with your wife. Your wife can always talk with her father about debt forgiveness (either a portion or all) but that is not up to you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you need an attorney to review the language of the document in detail, since the specific language will control. That said, the most likely interpretation would be that you have to keep paying unless the document specifically says that you may cease during the pendency of the divorce--after all, until the divorce is finalized, you are still married.


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