If my soon-to-be-ex husband and I have a large amount of debt, what is best approach to restart payment?

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If my soon-to-be-ex husband and I have a large amount of debt, what is best approach to restart payment?

My husband and I are getting divorced (totally uncontested, “no-fault”, no kids involved, no property or money to divide). The only thing standing in the way is a large amount of credit card debt that has been ignored for maybe 3 years. I want to start repayment in order to move on with my life and clear this matter once and for all. Is it possible to split it as part of the divorce? Is this something I can handle on my own or should a lawyer intervene? How much would it cost to have a lawyer’s assistance?

Asked on December 7, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you both have this debt and it was incurred and accrued during marriage, there really is no way to truly split payments and ensure that you are both cleared because the creditors consider this a joint debt.  You can expect to get this matter resolved through divorce court and include a provision of each being responsible for half the payment to the other perhaps or directly to the creditor and if one breaches, then you can go back and file a contempt motion on the other.  If you obtain a lawyer's assistance, consider the experience level of that lawyer, whether the person is a firm lawyer or solo practitioner and other such factors to explain the difference in hourly rates or set amounts for simple representation.  Have you considered speaking with a credit counseling agency in your state (non profit that doesn't have to be licensed as a debt adjuster) to help you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse in negotiating or paying these debts down or both?


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