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What To Do When An Ex Files For Bankruptcy

Going through a divorce is difficult enough, but many people find their lives further complicated when they receive notice that a former spouse has filed for bankruptcy. It is not uncommon for people to experience financial difficulties following a divorce, but it is important that you understand your rights in the event an ex files for bankruptcy.

Talk To Your Family Law Attorney

The first thing you should do when you find out about a former spouse's bankruptcy filing is contact the attorney who handled your divorce. This attorney should have a copy of your divorce decree, the document that outlines the legal obligations endorsed by a judge as conditions of your divorce.

With your divorce decree in hand, you will be able to determine which debts your ex is responsible for paying. This information will help you better understand how to face your ex's bankruptcy.

Debts That Can't Be Avoided

If you are worried that your ex will try to get out of paying you alimony or child support as a result of filing for bankruptcy, you can rest assured knowing that these debts cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. As long as the amounts owed to you are stipulated in your divorce decree, your ex will be responsible for meeting his or her financial obligations to you.

If your former spouse stops making payments because he or she doesn't have the money, you will need to speak with your attorney to talk about the legal mechanisms you can employ to help you recover the money that you are owed.

Joint Accounts

Your divorce decree should stipulate which party is responsible for the repayment of joint accounts. Generally speaking, your ex cannot include these joint accounts in their bankruptcy paperwork. It is important that you keep a careful watch on the payment history of joint accounts when your ex is going through a bankruptcy.

Since the original creditor was not a party in your divorce, they could still hold you liable for repaying the amount borrowed, even if your divorce decree removes this liability from you. Your attorney will be able to suggest ways to legally prevent your joint account creditors from taking action against you should your former spouse fail to repay the debts.

When your ex files for bankruptcy it is important to speak with an attorney (such as one from Shoemaker & Dart P.S. Inc) as quickly as possible. Since each situation is unique, your attorney will be able to help you better understand how an ex's impending bankruptcy might financially affect you in the future.