3 Things To Know If Your Ex Files For Bankruptcy

Posted on: 4 August 2015

Experts estimate that between 40% and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. The divorce statistics are even higher for second and third marriages. If you are among the divorced individuals in the United States today, it's important that you are aware of how your ex-spouse filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy could affect you. 

Here are three things to keep in mind when you receive a notice that your ex-spouse has filed for bankruptcy.

1. Even though your ex has filed for bankruptcy, you are still entitled to receive support.

During your divorce, a judge decided the amount of money your ex-spouse was responsible for paying you in support each month. This support includes things like alimony and child support payments. Even though a bankruptcy filing creates an automatic stay prohibiting creditors from taking collection actions against your former spouse, this stay doesn't apply to support. 

If you are worried that your ex will stop making the support payment you rely on after filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, talk to your attorney about possible wage garnishment or other collection actions you can take to gain access to the financial support you are entitled to.

2. Joint debts will become your sole financial responsibility, even if the divorce decree says otherwise.

It is common for spouses to divide their debt during a divorce. Your divorce decree outlines who is responsible for paying off joint debts, but the divorce decree doesn't trump a bankruptcy. The contract you and your former spouse signed with a creditor is only voided by death or bankruptcy. 

As soon as your former spouse files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors can no longer collect from him or her. Instead, they will turn their attention toward you in an effort to recoup their money. Be sure that you talk to an attorney who understands both divorce and bankruptcy laws to ensure you protect yourself from serious financial hardship after your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy.

3. You can seek help paying a joint mortgage after your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy.

If your former spouse was helping cover the cost of your monthly mortgage after your divorce, this assistance may stop once he or she files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To prevent the loss of your home, seek out help from organizations designed to provide financial assistance to homeowners at risk. 

Federally sponsored programs like Making Home Affordable can give you the financial help your former spouse can't once he or she files for bankruptcy.

Knowing how an ex-spouse's bankruptcy will affect you is important. Understanding that you are still entitled to support payments, that you may become solely responsible for joint debts, and that you can turn to federally funded programs for help making your house payments once an ex files for divorce will allow you to protect yourself after your former spouse files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

For more information, visit http://timgeorgelaw.com or a similar website.