Get Out of Debt Guy

In our divorce my ex-husband was supposed to pay some of the bills. They are coming after me.

Posted January 20, 2013

Question:

"Dear Steve,

My ex-husband and I divorced a couple years ago. He was out of work for a couple months and filed bankruptcy. When we got divorced, in the divorce papers it said he was to pay certain debts. However since he claimed bankruptcy, they are coming after me for the bills and my credit is shot. We have 2 children together and I can't afford to pay his debt too. I dont qualift for claiming Chapter 7 and I dont want to have to pay his bills.

Is there a way for me to take my ex to court and have them court order him to pay me back for any bills I have to pay? Or court order him to pay it? If so, would that be something that has to be done through civil court or divorce court?

Veronica"

Answer:

Dear Veronica,

This is an issue many get tripped over on. The divorce agreement is just that, an agreement between two people divorcing on how things will be handled. It has nothing to do with altering any legal responsibility for any joint debt.

If you were a joint account holder and he filed bankruptcy then creditors have every right to come after you. Your option would be to pay a lawyer and take your ex-husband to court to try and enforce the agreement but I can't think of a single time that ever worked out well. While you are taking him to court, your creditors will still come after you and possibly sue you or worse.

If you are saying you don't qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy you are either making assumptions or you have not met with a good bankruptcy attorney that is screening you using the long form and determining all of your obligations. The majority of people can qualify.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and talk to them for free. Specifically, I want you to talk to them about helping you qualify for a chapter 7.

It is not uncommon for a divorce to be followed up with a bankruptcy to give one or both parties a complete fresh start.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Steve

Get Out of Debt Guy

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.