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Can I be held responsible for ex wife's debt?

Ashburn, VA |

My name was on the auto loan for my ex wife's car when we were married. Our final divorce order states that the debt will be separated and the debt for her car will be hers. She failed to make the car payments and the car was repossessed. The bank is now taking me to court for the outstanding balance. My ex refuses to pay the debt and even refuses to attend the court date. Can the bank hold me accountable for the debt when the divorce order releases me of that debt?

What are my options and how should I proceed in court?

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Attorney answers 2


Agreements and Orders between the parties have no impact on creditors. You still owe the bank. Your recourse is to go against your wife for the non-payment via a contempt hearing.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.


Your divorce decree and agreement are irrelevant (unfortunately) in this proceeding.

Your options are to pay the debt and bring a contempt action against her for breach of the divorce decree, pay the debt and sue her for indemnification under the divorce decree, or defend the action, and see if there is a loophole in their case.

There is a case that says that when the lender repossesses, they have duties. Many lenders fail in those duties. When they fail in those duties, you may have recourse.
I have blogged on this issue, and it MAY be helpful to you.

You should DEFINITELY seek competent consumer assistance.

Mr. Krumbein is admitted to the courts of Virginia. His advice is often based on Virginia and Federal law, however, you should consult a lawyer in your geographic area for more detailed advice.