Debts and Creditors

A question that I am frequently asked in divorce cases is — If my spouse is allocated to pay the Discover credit card (could be any debt) in our Marital Settlement Agreement, and he/she does not pay that debt, may the creditor still request that I pay the debt in full?

The answer to this question is YES.  A Marital Settlement Agreement is only a contract between spouses.  It cannot bind third parties (such as banks or credit card companies) that have not signed the agreement.   As such,  Discover credit card company may contact you and attempt to get you to pay the remaining balance on the card.

So, how can a spouse protect him/herself? A Marital Settlement Agreement is a contract, and if one spouse fails to pay a debt that he/she agreed to pay, that spouse breaches the contract.  Your attorney should include protective language in the agreement that if one spouse fails to pay his/her allocated debts, he/she will indemnify and hold the non-paying spouse harmless from any costs, fees or expenses that the non-paying spouse may incur.  Ultimately, if your ex-spouse has failed to pay his/her allocated debt, you should contact an attorney to file a motion for contempt to protect your interests.