Bankruptcy / Filing Bankruptcy

When Your Ex Files for Bankruptcy

If you’ve gotten divorced and your ex-spouse decides to file for bankruptcy your first instinct may be joy that you got out before things got bad. But don’t gloat too long, you may actually be responsible for part of their debt. The first thing you should do is review all of your previous debts from before, during and after your marriage. Most likely you went through all of this debt during the divorce and you probably have a pretty good idea of what’s out there.

Debts that were acquired by your spouse alone, and that they were solely responsible for paying, you shouldn’t have to worry about. But if you had debt together or you were a co-signer on a debt that your spouse took out then you will most likely still be held liable. Creditors will often come after the ex-spouse even harder if they suspect a bankruptcy is imminent and you’re financially responsible.

Even if in your divorce decree the court determined one debt was to be paid by your spouse, if your name hasn’t been removed from that debt then you can still be held liable. This seems unfair but a divorce court’s rulings have no effect on the bankruptcy court.

The real lesson here is to remove your ex from every credit card you have and have them do the same, even before you get divorced. Once the divorce is determined try to get your name removed from any joint debts that have been assigned to your ex or you could be pulled into their future financial issues, even after the divorce.

Reed Allmand is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the managing partner of the law firm Allmand Law and NACBA’s State Chair for the Northern District of Texas. He has been practicing bankruptcy law for nearly 10 years and has handled more than 3,000 bankruptcy filings. Allmand has appeared on ‘Money for Breakfast’ on Fox Business News and is the author of “The Truth about Bankruptcy.” To speak with Mr. Allmand or to schedule an interview, please visit Dallas Bankruptcy.