Q: Wife and I are separating. I have a loan in my name alone, got while married, are we both responsible for the loan?
The wife and I are currently separated and wife drew up some standard separation papers from the internet and not through a lawyer. The wife and I got a loan one year ago to help with bill. The loan is only in my (husbands name) because i had better credit at the time. We both were knowledgeable and aware we are getting this loan to help with bill. If we divorce, are we both responsible for the debt or just myself (the husband)?
A: I am not licensed to practice law in Florida, so if you reside there, you should get a Florida attorney.
That caveat aside, the loan IS marital property and should have been accounted for in the settlement of your equitable distribution (property division) claim. However, the creditor (the bank) is only going to come after one person, being you, as they never entered into a contract with your wife.
If your wife is/was supposed to pay for half of this loan under the "separation papers," you are going to have to go after her for a breach of this provision or your contract (a Separation Agreement is just a contract between a husband and wife).
A: In North Carolina, it depends on whether you signed the internet agreement and whether it it was properly drafted and executed and addresses that issue. Typically a loan in just your name is going to be just your responsibility unless you file for equitable distribution and a court orders otherwise. Likely the best course of action is to scrap the internet agreement (which very likely contains numerous errors and omissions) and have an attorney draft a proper separation and property settlement agreement tailored to your specific situation. The cost for that is a flat rate fee of around $250 for most average couples and it can be used to resolve all of your marital issues, leaving only the divorce left to be done if that is ultimately what you decide to do. Also, when it comes time for the divorce, there is no need to bother attempting to do it yourself. A there are several NC law firms that can handle an uncontested divorce for you without you having to go to court for a total flat rate fee of $395 which would cover everything needed (assuming your spouse is somewhat cooperative and willing to sign for service of process by certified mail). Best of luck.
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