June 16, 2008
DEBT COLLECTION FROM DIVORCED PARTIES
By: Soncia Coleman, Associate Legislative Analyst
You asked if a creditor can seek to collect a joint debt from a person when that debt was assigned to an ex-spouse pursuant to a divorce decree.
As noted in the Federal Trade Commission's fact sheet on credit and divorce, a creditor can seek to collect a debt from either party for a debt that was jointly incurred (i.e., joint credit card account). Creditors are not parties to divorces and are therefore not bound by the decree. Rather, the debt is subject to the initial contract between the parties (i.e., the credit card agreement). The aggrieved party may seek recourse against the ex-spouse in court pursuant to the decree. However, Connecticut and federal law ban abusive, harassing, fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, or unfair debt collection practices. For more details about these laws, please see OLR report 2005-R-0745.