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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Jul 22, 2013.

Question

I have collections on my credit report from accounts I shared with my ex. Is it worth anything for me to pay them off or should I just let them fall off? I am desperately trying to regain my good credit.

Answer

Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, joint debts are still subject to the lender's original terms even post divorce. You should start with contacting the lender and informing them that you are now divorced (you may have already done so) and you have a shared responsibility for the debt. At the least, this will show your willingness to work to satisfy the debt and may get the lender to work with you on the loan terms (definitely ask them for better terms - lower interest rate perhaps). would also ask your ex what his/her intention is concerning the debt and perhaps work out a payment schedule with them - informing them that not satisfying the debt may negatively impact both your credit scores may help. If your ex doesn''t step up to the responsibility, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney (if the amount of debt is big enough to warrant it) and find out what your options are concerning your ex''s obligation. However, if your ex is unable or unwilling to pay his/her fair share, you are still liable for the debt. And unfortunately, non payment of this debt may negatively your credit score.


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