I neve signed any car loans or ccredit cards. nothing in my name. all debt is in his name. now wants a judge to grant divorce and me to be responsible for half. Can he get away with this?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
You are responsible for whatever the divorce court judge says you are in the final decree. While you may not be legally responsible to your husband's creditors, that is, they cannot sue you for payment, you can be held responsible for his debt by the divorce judge. In Florida we have what is called "equitable distribution" of both assets and debts of the marriage. The idea is that while you may be held responsible for some of his debt, you are getting property that might otherwise be his or he is being held responsible for part of your debts. Any assets or debts (except inheritances), and I mean ANY; that are acquired during the marriage are considered joint assets and debts.
So the answer to your question is: Yes, a divorce judge could hold you responsible for all or part of your husband's debts and, if you don't obey the final decree and pay them, and he gets sued by the creditor, you can be held in contempt of the divorce court. That doesn't mean that the judge will hold you responsible, just that he/she could. Neither is it outlandish or outrageous that your husband is asking that you be held responsible.
So, it would behoove you to negotiate a final settlement otherwise you might get whatever some judge gives you.
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The divorce agreement, decree or judgment supposedly settled the rights and obligations between you and the former spouse. However, it does not change the obligations each of you had with third parties who were not in Court when you got the divorce.
The ex-spouse may refuse to make payments to credit card companies, car financing companies, mortgage companies, etc. Your ex may even file for Bankruptcy.
Depending on the law in your State you may have an action against the ex-spouse, and you may even be able to sue the ex-spouse if they file for Bankruptcy and have their obligation to you declared “non-dischargeable”.
Unfortunately the divorce or the ex’s Bankruptcy does not relieve you of any obligations you had to these third parties.
See a lawyer right away!
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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.
Unless the court orders it, you are not responsible. If court does order it, the debt is not subject to discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; it may be in a Chapter 13. Consult with a local attorney if that happens.
[I am a Virginia-licensed attorney. This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]