Marital Debt Project
For so many women living in poverty in New York City, consumer debt is a huge obstacle to getting back on their feet. This is especially difficult for many Her Justice divorce clients who are leaving marriages saddled with enormous debt. Even if a debt has been labeled “marital” by a divorce judge, this does not wipe out the debt or fix a client’s credit report. If a client has been a victim of intimate partner violence, this problem is compounded; victims of financial abuse may have been coerced to take on debts they did not want, or their identity was stolen to take on debts of which they were not aware.
Senior Staff Attorney Anna Ognibene saw that women who were getting divorces with theoretically good settlements were still struggling with left-over debt from their marriages. Anna recognized a need for debt defense services to help our clients achieve some level of financial stability as they begin to move on with their lives. The Marital Debt Project came about as an attempt to address this need by expanding the services Her Justice already provides to divorce clients to include consumer debt defense services.
Along with defending clients being sued by their creditors in civil court, the project also aims to provide credit checks, financial advocacy, budgeting assistance and other important debt defense services available to Her Justice divorce clients. In September 2018, Equal Justice Works fellow Naomi Young will join Anna to initiate this important service.