Legal Protection

From my experience, just because you leave the house, that doesn’t exclude you from payments as long as that house mortgage still has your name on it. Unless your separation papers specifically say you are not liable for that debt, you still are obligated to pay. A quit claim sign over only says you have no CLAIM on the house. It doesn’t exempt you from any payments unless your ex refinances the house. That is my understanding and my experience. I paid the total bills for my house after my separation/divorce. I didn’t want my credit ruined more that it was (due to my ex). It took over a year to clean my credit enough for me to refinance. ANYTHING still in your name and your ex’s will be tied to you. If he defaults payment, then the creditors will look for the other person on that loan/bill…which is you.

You didn’t go into much of what your separation papers said or how they might have protected you from this. I DO know that someone’s word is not worth crap…even if you were married to them for 27 years. In cases of divorce, you MUST have signed documentation. Promises and “I’ll take care of it” can’t be trusted.

Keep on your lawyer. Hopefully he will come through for you. If not…get a better lawyer.

Are you saying that the IRS is holding you responsible for the back taxes due to you husband not reporting all his earnings? I had a situation similar to that. My now ex husband and I filed joint returns while married and he owned and operated his own business-badly. After our divorce, it came out that he had not been paying the quarterly taxes due on his business, so the IRS started billing me and actually took my tax return the first year to put toward the amount my ex owed. Although we filed jointly, I felt I should not be held responsible for my husband’s actions with his business. I called the IRS, spoke with someone and they sent me an “Innocent Spouse” packet. It requires that you give information on yourself, your spouse/ex and describe the situation and why you feel you should be held innocent of all charges from the IRS based on your husband’s actions. They then take your request and send a letter to your husband stating your complaint/claims and give him the chance to dispute it. In the meantime, all garnishments from your tax returns, etc are put on hold. It can take a while–mine did. My ex never responded to the IRS thinking that by not responding, they would continue to hold me liable. After multiple attempts to get him to respond, the IRS finally billed him in full for the amount, sent us both a letter stating my position as innocent spouse and that I was not liable for the charges. They also refunded the taxes they had taken from me. It took 2 years and phone calls from me to the IRS about every 4 months to make sure they didn’t “forget”.


UpDate… My lawyer called me today finally to tell me he had filed a motion and set a court date for this month to get my ex husband to pay the house payment on time or put the house up for sale. I said, Well when are we going to court to get the property settlement taken care of. It has been over a year. He said, "Well his lawyer will have to get back with me when your ex gets all his retirement info and paper work to him. I said. It has been over a year, can’t he be forced to get the info and can’t someone force the lawyer to go through with this? He would not give me an answer. I asked him twice and still didn’t get an answer! Who can I ask, to get the answer to that question? Can’t we get this taken care of by someone??? Help!!

Dear DannieB:

Greetings. Any missing information can be subpoenaed from the provider. You also need to file a Motion to Compel the documents from your ex. Request a Motion for Sanctions and ask that your spouse is restrained from providing any information at trial, or contradicting any information you provide at trial, due to his lack of sending information. Tell your attorney to set the hearings. Good luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

To try and make a long story short, my husband has cheated on me for years and kept things from me. I found out that he did not report some of his earnings on our tax forms from a few years back. These were joint returns. I found out by getting a letter from the IRS stating we owed back the money. I blew up at my husband for doing this behind my back. He promised to take care of it. Things kept going from bad to worse. After 27 years of marriage I finally left home because he would not. I had the house up for sale before I left home, he signed the papers. In twelve days we had a buyer. He backed at of the deal and refused to sell the house. It is in both our names. So I left. I got an attorney the same week. This was 9/30/05. I received a divorce from bed and board one year and some of days later. It stated that the property would be settled at a later court date. I’m from NC. I have called my lawyer about 5 times with no response or call back. The IRS sent a letter stating I was responsible for the money because he decided to quit paying. The house was sold to a different mortgage company. I decided to check and see if he was still maintaining payments he is almost 3 behind. I didn’t know. I finally got in to see my lawyer he told me a week ago that he was gonna get a court order to make him put the house up for sale. I called back today and he still hasn’t done it. He’s suppose to be calling me back again… Don’t I have some kind of rights? Wasn’t he suppose to protect me from all this? Now my credit is being ruined. I’ve always had good credit. I am so confused as to what to do. Help.