When your ex files bankruptcy soon after the divorce, in some cases, the trustee will discover discrepancies in the handling of the marital assets. If they do, they could contact you regarding assets that your ex is entitled to that you may be in possession of in order to use those assets to pay off their creditors. The trustee isn’t trying to harass you, they aren’t “on your ex’s side” or attempting to make your life hard. They are simply doing their job. The job of the bankruptcy trustee is to identify any and all unprotected assets that can be used to pay back creditors listed in the divorce. They were simply assigned to your ex’s bankruptcy case and will do as thorough a job as possible reviewing their paperwork and investigating the availability of any unprotected assets. Their goal is to find and identify potential sources of money. In this instance, it just so happens that could involve the filer’s ex.
We all have limited funds and while every situation is very specific, there is some general information that could be helpful in this type of situation.
The first thing you need to do is not to ignore the request or avoid contact with the bankruptcy court. They aren’t going to simply go away. Respond immediately so that you are as prepared as possible.
Review your divorce agreement. Your ex may have been entitled to some of those assets, but it’s extremely important to know what you already gave your ex in accordance with the final divorce decree. For example: Maybe you and your ex had $100,000 in assets. Let’s say that this amount included retirement accounts, home equity and some additional assets. In your final divorce decree, it was agreed that you would give your ex 50% of the marital assets. In this situation, the bankruptcy trustee may not have any claim to your 50%.
If, after reviewing your divorce decree, you fear that the bankruptcy trustee’s claims could be accurate, contact your divorce attorney to go over the asset distribution as well as an experienced bankruptcy attorney to find out what the consequences will be to your finances if the bankruptcy trustee does gain access to your assets.
If you need additional information, contact the southern California bankruptcy attorneys at Westgate Law. We can help you determine if your ex’s bankruptcy demands attention from you and discuss the potential protection of your assets.