THE BLOG

My Husband Ran Off With Another Woman and Left Me in Debt

02/06/2015 10:56 am ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015

Dear Steve,

My husband took off with another woman. Our house is now in foreclosure and our daughter had to quit college because my ex messed up loan application paperwork.

We took out Student Plus loans done in my name because he was overseas when the paperwork needed to be signed, but part of the divorce settlement stated HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAYMENT OF THE LOANS NOT ME.

However, I have contacted the loan company, sent copies of the divorce decree and they refuse to remove my name and SSN and put them under his.

His non-payment will affect my credit which is already ruined because of his refusal to make mortgage payments. I was only working 19 hours a week at a minimum wage job when he left and vacated the house so we could try and get a short sale done. I have since then been ill and had to undergo cancer surgery for with a high recurrence rate. I am still recuperating and am unemployed.

How do I get this mess settled? I have spent a ton of the money I got to pay a crappy lawyer and have little left to fight with against the mortgage company and the Student loan people.

I need your advice.

The divorce says I am responsible for 1/2 what we will owe on the house once it is foreclosed even though I put much of my inheritance money into improvements on the house. My lawyer said there was not way to repay me for that.

I do get some retirement income from my exes account for the next two years and then I am suppose to receive a monthly amount for 3 years from him but I do not think I will ever see a cent of that money and he is leaving the area with his new missus. Any suggestions?

Kathleen

(Do you have a credit or debt related question you'd like to ask me? Just click here. I'm happy to help for free.)

Dear Kathleen,

Oh, my gosh. I sure wish I had better news, but I do have a little sliver of hope to offer. This is a problem I see all the time in divorce situations.

What divorce lawyers don't explain well or people don't hear is that the divorce agreement is an agreement between the two people getting divorced and has no impact on the creditors at all.

If your ex-husband was honoring his obligation under the divorce agreement, he would be making the monthly payments to the student loan servicer and mortgage payments and all would be good. But he's not, and things are not good.

It is no wonder that divorce is often an underlying reason that people file for bankruptcy. One spouse winds up not paying or discharging their obligations for all joint and personal debt in bankruptcy and the other spouse either needs to also file bankruptcy or pick up the slack.

If we go with the premise that he's walked away on his obligation to deal with the student loan and this is now squarely in your lap, we have to look at options. The good news is that there is one option that will allow you to lower the monthly payment to fit within your income.

I'm thinking this is actually a Parent PLUS loan that you took out in your name. Parent PLUS loans can be reduced by following this advice and then electing to repay the loan through an Income Contingent Repayment Plan.

If this was actually a loan your daughter took out but you cosigned, then your daughter may want to look at payment options available in this guide.

Unfortunately, the way to deal with the deadbeat ex is to take him back to court and try to get him to pay. The reality is that most people can't afford to keep paying lawyers to pursue the spouse not honoring the agreement.

While the solution to deal with the student loans is not exactly what you were looking for, it is a way to lower the monthly payment to as little as $0 per month.

I wish you luck and good sailing on your journey to deal with the cancer. Goodness knows all this stress wasn't helpful to getting better.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you can jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.

Steve

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