January 17, 2012
Ex-spouse's bankruptcy can be problem after divorce
My husband and I were divorced about six months ago. The divorce decree says he is responsible for most of our debts. He now has filed for bankruptcy. Can the creditors still come after me for debts that he doesn't owe because of his bankruptcy?
As you seem to understand, after a bankruptcy, the person who filed is "discharged" from his or her debts. In your husband's case, this means he no longer has any liability for the debts that were part of his bankruptcy proceeding, including the debts he agreed to pay as part of your divorce. Your husband's bankruptcy, however, does not affect your liability. To the extent that you were also liable on any of those debts, you remain responsible.
The bottom line is that a divorce is between the parties to the marriage. It does not affect liability to creditors. If you owed money before the divorce, for example on a joint account that was subject to your husband's bankruptcy, you will still owe that money after the divorce.
In many cases, when one spouse files bankruptcy it makes sense for the other to also file. This is an option you should consider. If you pay, you also probably have the right to seek reimbursement from your ex-husband, based on the terms of your decree.
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