In different jurisdictions, including Illinois, an ex-spouse can seek legal recourse when his or her former partner continues to incur debt on joint credit cards or accounts. During divorce, debt is usually split up between partners, and their joint accounts are closed. Divorced individuals whose financial situations and credit scores are impacted by their former partners’ debt can take them to court for their failure to comply with the marital settlement agreement of the divorce.
While couples are going through a divorce, both parties still hold responsibility for any debt incurred on joint accounts. They both have to make sure that their joint bills are paid on time, even if they aren’t living together in the same residence. Usually, couples close joint accounts when they separate, but the debt they have left legally belongs to both of them.
Creditors can seek legal action against both spouses if they default on their bills, and both of their credit scores could be impacted. Divorced or separated couples should first try to work together to settle their debt situation since they are often both legally responsible for debts incurred during the marriage even after the divorce is finalized.
Individuals who continue to use a joint account after a divorce often have to pay damages to their exes if they are found guilty in civil court. Deciding on the splitting of debt and assets as part of a divorce is essential and may help people to avoid having issues with their ex-spouses in the future. An experienced family law and divorce lawyer can help couples to file the necessary paperwork during and after their divorce to split up all joint accounts and debts and settle other aspects of their estates.
Source: FOX Business, “Ex-Wife Racks Up Debt on Joint Accounts“, Sally Herigstad, November 04, 2013