Handling Debt Not Addressed In Settlement Agreement


We have a signed and finalized settlement agreement. My ex wife made arrangements prior to the separation agreement being signed that allowed her to pay off a debt to a dance instructor in monthly installments. My name was never mentioned nor on the invoices. Turns out she’s not paying the bill and now my ex is naming me as a third party and suing me for the entire amount.

Am I legally liable in anyway if the settlement agreement states that there are no other joint debts, and that the other indemnifies the other if any other joint debts are discovered?


First let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of Virginia, so I am unable to provide you with any specific advice as it relates to your questions. You should always consult an attorney who is licensed in your jurisdiction before taking any action with regards to your question.

Your settlement agreement should contain language that would address a situation like this. I always like to include language in a settlement agreement that addresses any debts not disclosed by a party will essentially be their responsibility and that they will indemnify the other party in case there is a collection on that undisclosed debt.

The purpose of a settlement agreement is to finalize a case and if your ex-spouse failed to disclose a debt, then she should be responsible for that debt, especially if you were never a signatory to that deb, meaning that you never took any action that would make you liable for that debt.

You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to review your agreement, to see if it addresses this situation and if not, then the attorney should be able to advise you how a Court in your jurisdiction will handle a situation such as this.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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