Can I sue my ex-wife for a bill acquired during our marriage after she filed for bankruptcy? 15 Answers as of September 08, 2014

My ex-wife had unpaid medical bills from 2011 (we were still married) that we were both sued for in 2012. She made payments at the beginning 2013, (we were divorced at this point) for about 6 months, and I have been paying since then (June 2013 to August 2014), but she has not. She filed for bankruptcy in 2013. So the bill has fallen on me. My wages are now being garnished. The bill will get paid either way. My question really is whether or not I would be able to sue her once the bill is paid for the amount that would have been her half (which is around $1300) and if I would even have a chance at winning? And would I need a lawyer or could I just file a lawsuit myself.

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A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
She filed for bankruptcy, so any obligation she may have had to reimburse you would have been discharged by her bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/8/2014
D.J. Rausa, Attorney at Law | D.J. Rausa
Your remedy lies in family law court, not is civil court. It would not be advisable to make a claim against her for a pre bankruptcy debt after discharge. You could find yourself on the wrong end of a bankruptcy court motion for sanctions for violating the discharge injunction.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/8/2014
Barnhart Law Office
Barnhart Law Office | Bruce C Barnhart
A chapter 7 discharge does not discharge your former spouse from her obligation to you in connection with a divorce decree. If the decree states that she is to pay the debt and hold you harmless, you should be able to either file a motion for contempt in the dissolution action or file a lawsuit to collect the debt. Also, spouses are not automatically liable for medical bills. The creditor that sued you may be liable for a violation of the fair debt collection practices act.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/8/2014
Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
She most likely listed the debt in her bankruptcy which means that the debt has been discharged (she has no legal obligation to pay it). If she did not list it and her case was filed as a no-asset case in California, the debt was discharged as well. If you file suit against her, you would be in violation of the discharge injunction and could end up paying sanctions and her attorney's fees. You should talk with an attorney before you do anything.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/8/2014
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
This is really a question you should address to your divorce attorney, it depends on how the order was written up.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/8/2014
    EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
    You would not be able to sue her in a state court as her debt was discharged in bankruptcy. If her obligation was created as part of a court order in the divorce you could claim that it would not be dischargeable but you would have to do that in bankruptcy court. I would think that you should forget it.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Unless the payment was specifically addressed in the divorce decree as a support obligation, you can't sue her. If you sue her you'll be in contempt of the bankruptcy court and may have significant penalties. Your lawyer should have addressed this during the bankruptcy, if he/she didn't it was malpractice and you'll be able to recover the money from them. If you didn't use a lawyer, consider the garnishment the cost of experience.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    The debt has been discharged as to her. She could sue you for violating the discharge injunction if you went after her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    You cannot sue her. The underlying debt was discharged as to her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You could sue her in small claims court but generally if you signed for the debt, and if your divorce decree doesn't say that she is responsible for that debt, then she is no longer liable because of the bankruptcy and you will remain liable.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    All her prefiling debts are discharged in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    If she filed for Bankruptcy, then no you can not sue her due to the injunctive nature of the automatic stay and discharge. You could have objected to her discharge if the bill was her responsibility under the divorce decree, but that would probably be waived by now as she probably has her discharge.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/8/2014
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    You cannot sue your ex-wife for the debt. That would be in violation of the discharge she received in the bankruptcy. However, depending on how your divorce decree is written, she could be on the hook for a portion of the debt. If the decree indicates she is on the hook for half, then you may be able to hold her in contempt and/or reduce the amount to a judgment as part of the divorce and have her pay it in that fashion. I would recommend you have an attorney so you do it properly and don't end up doing it the wrong way. Marital debts are not discharged as part of a Chapter 7. HOWEVER, if she filed a Chapter 13, this option is also not available to you. Visit with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/5/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If she was ordered to pay under the decree then yes. Otherwise no.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/5/2014
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    You cannot file against her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/5/2014
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