What if my spouse doesn’t pay half of the debt per our court order? Am I still responsible?
Updated: Jun 4, 2018
Generally speaking, in Florida, most Marital Settlement Agreements, or else Final Judgments (also referred to as divorce decrees), will dictate who pays what post- dissolution of your marriage. It is important to note, however, that regardless of the words in your divorce decree, the spouse whose name is on the debt will ultimately be on the hook for whatever debt is owed the creditor. In essence, a divorce decree will not stop a creditor from pursuing an unpaid debt.
However, If your spouse fails to meet their obligations under a court order to pay a debt, you do have several remedies, such as moving the court to have your spouse held in contempt for failing to adhere to the court's order. If held in contempt, the court may have the ability to sanction the breaching spouse, including imposing monetary sanctions and even placing that former spouse in jail.
In addition to this, if your judgment included an "indemnity clause" or "hold harmless provision" stating that your former spouse should hold you harmless in the event that there is a failure of performance as to that specific debt, you may be afforded the ability to take your former spouse back to court to recover any money that you were required to pay in order to preserve an asset or pay a debt on their behalf.
If you are contemplating divorce, it is very important that these types of provisions are included in your decree, so that you can be sure to have some relief in the event that you are stuck repaying your former spouse's debt. It may also be helpful to add in language that forces the opposing party to pay your reasonable attorney’s fees should you ever have to go back to court to enforce a judgment or to collect a debt.
If you have any questions about the distribution of debt upon divorce, contact Prescott Legal for a legal consultation to discuss your family law concerns.