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The Rules of Civil Procedure dictate how pleadings in a case are served. In Virginia, you can find them at the following link:
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-DANGEROUS URL REMOVED?000+cod+TOC0800100
Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 8.01 - 296, personal service is required. Accordingly, you should check the court file to determine what the Affidavit of Service states, assuming one has been filed, and how it indicates you were served.
If improper service is made and the matter proceeds by default, you may file a Motion to reopen the case based on the fraud related to the service.
Again, you must seek to reopen the matter if it was resolved by default. Proving that something was knowingly done would be extremely difficult. However, the court could impose a sanction such as requiring that party or attorney to pay your legal fees.
I am afraid that the attorney is correct. A divorce court can only decide issues between you and your spouse. That court order does not impact the remedies for other creditors.
As a result, you could be held liable by the creditor for debts that were owed on homeowners does and taxes if there was no filing in the office that records dees to indicate that responsibility had been transferred to a new party.
Your remedy would be against your ex spouse. You may sue yoru ex spouse as part of the present action by bringing him/he rin as a third party. This may require the assistance of counsel. You may also seek to have them found in contempt in familyt court in many states and seek reimbursement for any money paid.