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My ex-husbands name is on my mortgage and he filed for bankruptcy. I don't have enough income to refinance and take his name off

Stevens Point, WI |

He has not made any payments since he moved out in Feb 2010. I have made all the payments and upkeep of the property. I am worried that his name still being on the house will affect me and that I will lose the property. I do not have any money for an attorney, at all. I am still making payments to my divorce lawyer. I do not want this to affect my credit. After he kept saying he had no money, he went and bought a new truck and racked up credit card bills, and then filed for backruptcy. I had to take him to court in order to save my house from foreclosure once, as he refused to sign refinance papers in middle of divorce. I don't make much money, but him just going out and buying things in order to keep and then file bankruptcy is wrong. I need to save my name, credit and home.

Attorney Answers 3


Depending upon the wording in your marital settlement agreement, you may have a remedy of maintenance to indemnify you if he discharges his obligations to you. Support is non dischargeable in bankruptcy. Further, the bankruptcy code has some provisions incorporated to protect spouses injured by the discharge. You should consult with an attorney familiar with both family and bankruptcy law.

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First you want to be sure he listed you as a co-debtor on the mortgage. You should receive all notices from the court. Second, if there is no equity in the home it will not affect you. I am assuming he is surrendering his interest in the property which means he will no longer be legally liable for the debt. You may want to talk to an attorney to have him quit claim the deed over to you after the bankruptcy is discharged.

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These are common issues for anyone who has been divorced or married to someone with credit problems. Your fears may be justified, since one always marries one's spouse's credit history to an extent, when one marries the person, particularly in community property states such as Wisconsin. However, some of these problems can be avoided if you opt out of the WI Marital Property Act and serve timely notice of this on your creditors, but I would guess that it is too late for you to do this any more. A single spouse bankruptcy filing in WI can become a real problem for a nonfiling spouse, since the nonfiling spouse loses the ability to claim the exemptions which would normally allow retention of one's property. Being divorced can save you from some of these effects, but if his name is still on the tite and your equity exceeds exemption limits (or if you do not properly claim your exemptions), your home could conceivably be in danger, even if you are making all mortgage payments on time. You need a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible, despite the fact that it is not even you who are filing bankruptcy, in order to protect yourself. My answer does not automatically make me your attorney, so you need to consult with your own attorney before acting upon any of my comments and may contact my office at 333 Main St, Racine, WI 53403, 262-633-3090, during business hours, or see me on the web at Also see over 15 years of my previous answers to consumer questions at Answers may contain advertising materials.

Attorney answers on this pubic web forum are offered for public educational purposes only and do not make me your lawyer--you therefore still need to consult with your own lawyer and obtain his or her opinion on your specific facts before making any important decisions. Answers do not apply specifically to your fact situation but rather to common situations faced by many is a similar situation. Please remember that I am not yet your attorney and will not be taking any action on your case, but you are still welcome to contact me during business hours at my in Racine if you still have more questions. Also, please see me on the web at, or, to read 15 years of my prior answers to consumer legal questions arranged by topic, please go to Answers may contain attorney advertising materials.

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