Who can be held responsible for one of my debts?

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Who can be held responsible for one of my debts?

I have several credit accounts that went into collections. This all happened between the years 2000 and 2003. I no longer even receive correspondence regarding the debts. My ex-father-in-law called to tell me that a debt collector is contacting him regarding one of my old debts. They have told him that he can be held responsible. Needless to say my ex-father-in-law is quite upset. I believe that only I am responsible for these debts and that my he cannot be held responsible. Can you let me know if this is the case?

Asked on November 16, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Did you father-in-law any way obligate himself on these debts.  For example, did he co-sign for them?  If so, then he would also bear responsibility for the debts.  If not, did your ex-husband co-sign or did you live ina community property state at the time that you took these debts out? If so, and your ex has the same name your father-in-law, then this is just a case of mistaken identity (although your ex would still be liable). If none of the foregoing applies, then you father-in-law bears no responsibility for these debts and cannot legally be made to pay.   

Note:  If your ex did co-sign for the loan, as stated above, he would still be responsible for the debts.  However, if your divorce decree provided otherwise, then you would be responsible for reimbursing your ex for any money that he may be out as a result.


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