The right of a collection agency to collect a debt from an individual is only limited by the statue of limitation. The statue of limitation states as to how long after the delinquency date can they still go after the debtor to recover the money. Sometimes people get surprised when an ex-spouses debt comes up in the form of a collection of account several years later. The reason for this mostly is the misunderstanding of a divorce decree. Sometimes people misunderstand that is a divorce decree handed the responsibility for a particular loan or a credit account to the other spouse, they themselves have been absolved of all responsibility.
Unfortunately this is not the case. It is the lender that has the power to make the absolute decision whether or not to remove you from a joint account held by you and your ex-spouse. After the divorce decree you have to try and get your name removed from the original contract by speaking about it with the lender. If the lender agrees to let a single person take responsibility for it then you can have your name taken of the account and will no longer be held liable for any future delinquency. However, if you have not taken the step of negotiating with the lender after the divorce decree that it is quite possible that your name is still exist on the account.
Every state as a different policy as to what the time limit is for the statue of limitation. The statue of limitation for the recovery of a debt by a collection agency may extend up to more than seven years. If there was a delinquent account during or before divorce, even though delinquent account may have vanished from your credit report after seven years a collection agency may still come and try to recover the debt from you.
If you had not negotiated with the lender to have your name removed from the concern the account as per the divorce decree then any future late payment or delinquency by your ex-spouse can also result in the creditor or a collection agency coming after you for repayment.
For this reason it is increasingly important that you make a careful note of all the accounts that are jointly held by you and your ex-spouse during before the proceedings of the divorce and have them taking care of. The best thing would be to close all the joint accounts or have them changed to a single name status before the divorce.