Skip to main content

Is it legal to file bankruptcy to get out of debts from a divorce settlement including the federal tax debt/child support? tx

Dayton, OH |

My ex filed for chapter 7 including debts he chose in our divorce decree. That left all the debt (including Fed. taxes) up to me. Is this legal? How would I be notified? The Fed taxes he was to pay included penalties and interest which was all garnished from MY wages because he didn't work. Can it all be so ez? What about child support still owed? Since he is now 65 and eligible for SS, can I try to collect from him? Maybe a Motion of his Contempt against the decree? ...since the debt was really to the government and not to me? I supposedly was named in his bankruptcy.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


This is a difficult situation, and happens often. The short answer to your question is, yes...this is legal. If your ex-husband is liable to you by virtue of a written divorce decree that is executed prior to the filing of his Bankruptcy, then that debt will be discharged as to you. However, taxes and child support may survive the bankruptcy discharge. You will want to get as much information as you can together, and take it to an attorney for a consultation on what may or may not be discharged. As for're ahead of yourself. First, you have to determine if anything can be done through domestic relations court. I think you may have problems with that. Talk to an attorney.


Your question should be modified to reflect time frames, but here are some suggestions:

The divorce decree is not binding upon your creditors, which means that no matter what you agreed to, or how the judge ruled, responsibility for payment still remains with the account holder.

If you filed a joint tax return, then the IRS will treat the tax liability as much yours as his; however, you can amend your returns filed for the last 3 years and claim innocent spouse protection so that you will not be required to pay taxes, penalties and interest based upon HIS failure to pay taxes. If it is more than 3 years, you can not amend your return, but a tax professional may be able to convince the IRS that the debt should be treated as uncollectable.

Child support can be enforced by a Motion for Contempt, and depending upon the state in which you or he reside, you may be able to obtain a judgment against your ex. Spousal and child support is NOT dischargable in bankruptcy.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer