Your Ex Gets a Bankruptcy Discharge, Are You Still Responsible for Paying as Agreed in the Divorce Decree? - Westgate Law

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Your Ex Gets a Bankruptcy Discharge, Are You Still Responsible for Paying as Agreed in the Divorce Decree?

You got divorced. Your final divorce decree separated your assets and your debt between you and your ex. Your ex removed your name from your joint accounts. The final divorce decree states that you need to pay your ex a certain amount per month or until the debt is paid off. Your ex declared bankruptcy and included the debt you were ordered to make payments toward. Do you still need to make payments even though your ex received a discharge of debt?

If your ex is insisting that you are still required to make payments towards the debt as agreed in the divorce decree even though they have received a discharge of the debt and it has been essentially erased…you could be experiencing a modern version of the tried and true “shake down.” They might just want some extra spending cash. But you need to be sure before you veer away from the divorce decree.

If, as stated, your ex had your name removed from the joint account and your name is actually NOT on the account, the creditor cannot hold you liable for the debt. If your ex flied for bankruptcy and received a discharge of the debt she wiped out her liability to pay the debt. If the account is not in your name, and she has no obligation to pay the debt, then, technically speaking, neither do you. It’s as simple as that. Kind of.

Before you simply stop sending the agreed upon check each month as agreed in your Divorce Decree or Marital Settlement Agreement (the name of the final document depends upon your state of residence), contact a divorce attorney to verify a few things.

  • Is your name on the account? If you are mistaken and your name was not actually removed from the account, this entire discussion is moot. We’d have to start over from the very beginning.
  • Were you a signer on the credit card contract? Did you at any point add yourself as a signer to the account? The easiest way to determine whether or not you are a signer on the account is to call the credit card company and input your social security number to “search” for your account. If it doesn’t come up, they don’t have you (your social security number) attached to the credit account.
  • Are you an authorized user on the credit account? You could have added your social security number simply to make yourself an authorized user. This does not entail liability for repayment.
  • Did your ex actually receive a discharge of the debt in question. Your ex may have filed for bankruptcy, but not been allowed to include the particular debt in question. Some debts are frequently disclosed from discharge: i.e. student loan debt, unpaid income taxes, motor vehicle fines, etc.

If you still can’t be sure if you are clear to stop sending payment because your ex received a bankruptcy discharge, contact an experienced southern California bankruptcy attorney at Westgate Law.

About the Author

Justin Harelik

Justin has a singular goal: to get people out of financial distress and move them to financial stability and prosperity. He does this by combining 15 years of in-depth experience in bankruptcy, credit management, debt negotiation and student loan modifications, and he does it with both English and Spanish-speaking clients.

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