my ex wife is suing me for half her debt. Will filing for bankruptcy stop it? 24 Answers as of July 11, 2013

She has debt from credit cards and her car, we have been divorced for one year now. Can I file for bankruptcy to stop her claim against me in court?

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
Probably not. If your divorce judgment says you pay half, bankruptcy may eliminate you obligation to the creditor, but it will not change your obligation to the ex.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/5/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
It will depend on your Divorce Decree, if the debt existed prior to your divorce and was allocated as part of your decree you may not be able to discharge the debt.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
In Chapter 7, debts pursuant to a divorce decree are nondischargeable. In Chapter 13, they are dischargeable unless they are "in the nature of support," typically referenced in a alimony or child support order. This is not intended to be legal advice and does not create a lawyer client relationship. Moreover, the information is limited to bankruptcy cases pending in Maine.
Answer Applies to: Maine
Replied: 7/1/2011
Rosenberg & Press
Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
Unless their is some sort of underlying fraud, such as you inducing her into carrying the debt or incurring the debt, then your bankruptcy would work to discharge you of all that debt. In this case the federal bankruptcy law will trump civil state. This cannot be used to avoid support payments however. When you talk to a bankruptcy attorney, it will be best for you to discuss with the attorney the benefits of filing before or after she gets a judgment. My preference in such a matter would be to file after. Thanks for tuning in.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
Your question also involves Family Law. If the credit card debts arose prior to separation, the debts should have been divided by the court in your divorce proceeding. If the car was awarded to your former spouse in the property division, usually, but not always, the car loan goes with the car. If the debts arose after the separation date, then they would typically be awarded to the party incurring the debt. Generally speaking, claims between spouses and former spouses are within the jurisdiction of the Family Court, not the Bankruptcy Court. Although there is an automatic stay of collection activity once the Bankruptcy Petition is filed, there are several exceptions to the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. section 362. Further, under 11 U.S.C. sections 523(a)(5) and (a)(15), domestic support obligations and any debt owing to a former spouse "incurred in connection with a separation agreement, divorce decree or other court order" are not dischargeable in Bankruptcy proceedings. The area of dischargeability of marital-related debts is evolving and the full effect of the relevant bankruptcy statutes is not always clear. I recommend that you contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in both family law and bankruptcy law proceedings for specific advice.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/30/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    Only if it was not part of the divorce decree. Such decrees will not be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    If the debt was allocated to you in the dissolution action, then it is not dischargeable, so bankruptcy would be of no help. If the debt was not specifically allocated to you in a settlement agreement or judgment then filing bankruptcy probably would discharge it. In order to be sure of the situation you should show the marital settlement agreement or dissolution judgment to a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    You can if nothing in the separation agreement or divorce said you would pay it.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    What does the marital settlement or judgement in the dissolution say? If debt was divided and there is a "hold harmless" provision a bankruptcy might not help you. You need to consult with a lawyer who can look at the dissolution of marriage documents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not protect you from debts to your ex-wife that are a result of your divorce. However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will address most of this debt. You need to discuss the specifics of your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    Maybe and maybe not because it depends upon what the divorce Judgment and other papers state regarding who is responsible for payment of the marital debt. An attorney would need to review those papers carefully to give you a definitive opinion. I would be glad to help you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    If she is suing you through the divorce proceeding then bk may not help. I would need more info to help you. Normally debt and property disputes between divorced people are handled in divorce court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    I would contact my divorce attorney. Debts are usually settled in your divorce judgment. If you read it, it will say who has to pay what. The problem is that if you were also on the debts and she doesn't pay, the creditors will still come after you and that is when you may want to file bankruptcy, presuming that your divorce judgment does not state that you cannot go bankrupt on those debts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Robert Peters, P.A.
    Robert Peters, P.A. | Robert L. Peters
    It depends on weather she is suing you based on the divorce agreement or some other basis. Yoy really need to get the paperwork to a lawyer. Filing bk might solve your problem but again you need to consult with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    It depends on what was in the divorce settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    If you were divorced a year ago, the debts should have been resolved in the dissolution decree. If you agreed to pay half of the debts in the divorce, then she could be coming after you to pay those. If you were to pay half of the debts and that was specified in the divorce, that debt can be kept form being discharged if you were to file for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Family court judgments are enforceable and bankruptcy does not prevent collection of them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    If you file for bankruptcy, then you most likely will not be liable for any of the debt if they are non priority debts. You should wait and see if you are going to be liable for any of the debts first before considering bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    Who did the divorce decree assign the debt to? Do you live in a community property state?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Bankruptcy would eliminate your liability on the debt obligation but if it was part of the divorce decree that you pay half the debt, then and in that case she could compel you to pay your share irrespective of the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    It depends. If you have a divorce agreement, that will be controlling. If the agreement says you have to pay half her debts, that agreement generally will still be binding on you despite the bankruptcy. If, however, her claim against you is because you are both named on the debts (and there was no order or agreement in the divorce case), then a bankruptcy may work to discharge her claim against you. You should discuss this with a lawyer with experience in this area. (And be sure to check this. I worked on a case where a prior lawyer got this wrong and it was a mess to correct!)
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    As a general rule, claims arising out of a divorce are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. It is very important to have a good lawyer in both cases.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Yes, but it will not stop the family law court from awarding support payments and if they determine that "her" portion of the debt that you are discharging was an obligation in the nature of support, then it will not be dischargeable in your bankruptcy case. If the family law court makes it part of a marital equalization payment, you may be able to discharge it in a Chapter 13 case only.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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