Financial Advice: What Does Hold Harmless Mean?

advice on divorceQuestion:

I need financial advice on divorce and what “hold harmless” means. Per our divorce decree, I am paying off several credit cards that are in my ex-wife’s name only.

The divorce judgment states I shall “hold her harmless” but what exactly does that mean?

What will happen if I am unable to keep making the payments on her credit cards?

Answer:

This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any financial advice on divorce in your state.

In the eyes of the bank that issued the credit card, if the cards are in your wife’s name only, your wife is the only person that owes the money. The “hold harmless” language of your decree does not eliminate her responsibility for the debt with regard to the bank.

The “hold harmless” language just means that you’ve agreed to pay it on her behalf and that, if you don’t and she gets sued or incurs any other manner of financial consequence as a result of your failure to pay, you’re responsible.

You can also be found in contempt for violating a court order. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the court, you’re on the hook for those credit cards.

Read Related Article:

Consequences of Contempt

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Christian D. Barnard, an Associate Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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