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After a Divorce Collectors Can Still Come After You Even if Your Ex was Ordered to Pay the Debt

On Behalf of | May 29, 2019 | Community Property Division

After a divorce collectors can still come after you even if your ex was ordered to pay the debt.  Many of our clients are surprised to learn they continue to be responsible on all debts to which they were a signator during the marriage.  Why is that?

During a divorce proceeding all community debts and assets are evenly distributed between the former spouses, according to the laws of California.  Generally speaking, if either spouse signs a loan document or document of indebtedness (such as a post dated check or payroll advance) during the course of the marriage the debt is considered community property.  Both spouses are legally responsible for this debt, even though only one of the spouses may have signed the actual paperwork.

It is important to note that debts outside of the marriage are not community property.  For example, if the wife purchased a rental property before the marriage and the property was foreclosed, the husband would have no legal obligation to help repay the debt.  The property or debt would be considered the “separate” property of the wife in this case.  However, if community funds were used during the course of the marriage to repair or invest in that property (known as commingling funds) or the spouse agrees to be added to the account or loan then both spouses would be responsible and accountable.

It is surprising that after a divorce collectors can still come after you even if your ex was ordered to pay the debt as part of the community property settlement or order.  Creditors are legally allowed to place liens on any property and garnish either or both parties wages.  This may seem incredibly unfair, but it is a legal consequence of community property law.

This is why it is important to seek the advice of the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq.  We invite you to contact us or call (760) 434-3330 to schedule an appointment.