When I got divorced my ex spouse signed our divorce papers making my ex solely responsible for the house and any negative amount he would pay. Now, I just got served with a lawsuit. What actions can I take to get out of this lawsuit? My ex wants me to file bankruptcy with him. Is there other options?
If the dispute amount is more than $5000, you should contact a lawyer. It sounds like you have a pretty good defense regarding the divorce paperwork and your ex agreeing to be responsible. However, you have been served, and there are specific steps you need to take in the suit - such as filing an answer within 20-30 days. If you can't find a lawyer, send a copy of the divorce paperwork to the plaintiff's attorney and ask to be dismissed
General advice based on limited facts. No attorney-client relationship created.
1 lawyer agrees
If your name is on the mortgage being enforced, the agreement between you and your ex will not necessarily relieve you of liability to the bank, but may entitle you to sue your husband to indemnifying you for losses. The problem is that it is better not to sustain the damages in the first place. If you husband declares bankruptcy, he will still have to pay the full amount on the house if he wants to keep it. If he does not want to keep it, you may be able to intervene in the bankruptcy and object to his receiving a discharge of the note. That would certainly motivate him to come up with a solution. This is a difficult question, overlapping three areas of law, but I think you want to get advise from a Florida bankruptcy attorney to discuss whether statutory protections for exceptions to discharge can be asserted with respect to the bank loan.
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Divorce law aside (which is still applicable), if you signed the promissory note with the bank, the bank will hold you liable. They are not bound by your divorce settlement. That is why divorce settlements that say the spouse residing in the home will be responsible, leave the other spouse, notwithstanding the settlement agreement, wide open for liability under the note if the spouse remaining in the home fails to pay.
If you are only on the mortgage and NOT on the promissory note (possible), then you should just agree to a consent judgment of foreclosure "in rem" specifically stating you are not liable for any deficiency judgment (amount not paid off on loan after home is sold).
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Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
If the bank did not consent to the change in responsibility for payment, your option would be to sue your former spouse in the mortgage foreclosure claim for indemnification. It doesn't stop the mortgage foreclosure, but shifts to your former spouse the obligation to pay you for any judgment that the mortgage company may obtain against you. If your former spouse files bankruptcy, the obligation for to your for indemnification will be discharged. You can only file for bankruptcy, if you qualify. A bad faith filing will be dismissed. You need to consult with competent counsel.