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Financial Planning / Tax Strategies


Subject:  Re: Legal Docs for College Roomates Date:  4/20/2012  7:47 AM
Author:  aj485 Number:  116093 of 127642

Well, it's not so much the divorce lawyers don't know bupkes, it's the courts won't or can't enforce the divorce decree terms.

I would tend to say, at least with financial obligations to creditors, including the IRS, it's that the courts can't legally enforce divorce decree terms prior to one party being injured by having to pay an obligation that they didn't agree to pay.

When both parties signed for the obligation, or the state's laws make the obligations joint, the creditors' claim is in place prior to the divorce decree, and the divorce decree cannot retroactively change the obligtion to the creditor. So, both parties are still liable for the debt, and if one party is not living up to the subsequent obligation they agreed to in the divorce decree, the creditor has the right to ask for the other party to pay the debt. Once that party is injured by paying the debt that the divorce decree assigned to the other party, then the injured party can bring an action against the defaulting party. If the court finds the injured party's claim valid, the court can attempt to enforce by issuing judgments against the defaulting party. Whether the injured party can actually collect on the judgments then becomes the question.

The issues that I have seen with divorce lawyers is that even if they do understand this process, they don't explain it to their clients and make sure that the clients understand it. When the divorce decrees are issued, the divorce lawyer lets the client walk away with the (incorrect) impression that they are off the hook for financial obligations that are assigned to the other party. So, whether it's lack of understanding or lack of communication, I think a lot of divorce lawyers contribute to these issues.

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