What to do about a bill that my ex-spouse was suppossed to pay?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do about a bill that my ex-spouse was suppossed to pay?

The judge in my divorce (6 years ago) split a water softener bill between my ex-husband and I. The bill was split down the middle; we both had to pay half. I paid my half, then assumed that he paid his half. Also, he was the primary on the account. The company is now suing me for the full amount of the balance (an additional $3500 more than what we paid for the unit). Should I hire an attorney or do I have no legal ground not to pay? I now live in another state. The home was sold at a foreclosure auction 6 months ago.

Asked on November 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Many people assume that because the divorce decree says that a debt it the other spouse's debt that the same order is binding on the creditor.  Because the creditor is not a party to the divorce, the creditor is not bound to that order.  This means that the creditor can come after you for the bill.  However, you are not without a remedy.  If your husband is not already included in the suit on the account, then you can file a petition to have him brought in.  You can also file an enforcement action in your divorce and sue your husband for the expenses that you are now having to pay to defend this suit. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you do not have grounds to not pay. The order or judgment in your divorce does not bind or affect anyone other than you and your ex-spouse. The company can seek payment from you, if you were on the account or otherwise liable for it, regardless of what was ordered during your divorce. Your recourse is to in turn sue your ex-spouse for his share of the bill, since he would be liable under the court order or judgment.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption