Dealing with Debt

questions & answers

Question: I have a decree from Colorado stating that my Ex-Husband is responsible for certain debts. Creditors are coming after me for the debts because he didn't pay them and 1 creditor is suing me, I answered the complaint and they filed a motion for a judgement and I have to answer in 10 days. Am I responsible for debt that was ordered under the decree to be paid by my Ex?

Answer:

Arizona is a community property state. In a very general sense, this means that property or debt acquired during the marriage could be characterized as community property (debt to the community) unless it fits within an exception. Also, you may want to review the statutes in Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 25, Chapter 2, Article 2,  which explains property rights and contract powers of parties during, before and after marriage.

Included in that section of the Arizona Revised Statutes are the following laws that you may want to review: According to A.R.S. § 25-214 A. Each spouse has the sole management, control and disposition rights of each spouse's separate property. B. The spouses have equal management, control and disposition rights over their community property and have equal power to bind the community. C. Either spouse separately may acquire, manage, control or dispose of community property or bind the community, except that joinder of both spouses is required in any of the following cases: 1. Any transaction for the acquisition, disposition or encumbrance of an interest in real property other than an unpatented mining claim or a lease of less than one year. 2. Any transaction of guaranty, indemnity or surety ship. 3. To bind the community, irrespective of any person's intent with respect to that binder, after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment if the petition results in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment. According to A.R.S. § 25-215, A. The separate property of a spouse shall not be liable for the separate debts or obligations of the other spouse, absent agreement of the property owner to the contrary. B. The community property is liable for the premarital separate debts or other liabilities of a spouse, incurred after September 1, 1973 but only to the extent of the value of that spouse's contribution to the community property which would have been such spouse's separate property if single. C. The community property is liable for a spouse's debts incurred outside of this state during the marriage which would have been community debts if incurred in this state. D. Except as prohibited in section 25-214, either spouse may contract debts and otherwise act for the benefit of the community. In an action on such a debt or obligation the spouses shall be sued jointly and the debt or obligation shall be satisfied: first, from the community property, and second, from the separate property of the spouse contracting the debt or obligation.

Debt issues involving a divorce can be very complicated. In the future if you run into more issues involving other debt that you believe your husband is responsible, the following is basic information on what you may want to do. If you dispute the debt, send the collectors a letter stating that you don't owe the money and why. You should also send copies of receipts, canceled checks or other documentation. You may want to send them a copy of your court order. Keep your original documents in a safe place for future use. Send your letter within 30 days of the date you received the notice. It is best to send the letter by registered mail, return receipt requested. But again please review the Arizona Revised Statutes, which explain that Arizona is a community property state. In order to understand how the Arizona statutes apply to your specific situation, you may consider speaking with an attorney. Please visit our website for legal aid options.

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QUESTIONS

  • I have a decree from Colorado stating that my Ex-Husband is responsible for certain debts. Creditors are coming after me for the debts because he didn't pay them and 1 creditor is suing me, I answered the complaint and they filed a motion for a judgement and I have to answer in 10 days. Am I responsible for debt that was ordered under the decree to be paid by my Ex?

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