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Will my ex be successful in seeing me for joint debt after I file bankruptcy if she also didn't meet her obligations?

Boise, ID |

my ex was awarded the house. Because of the negative equity, I was stuck with the remainder of our joint debt. Our decree states we are to "hold harmless" each other from the divisions of debts as well as credit rating. I'm now in a position where I need to file bankruptcy. I'm worried my ex will sue me for our joint credit card if they come after her. My bk lawyer says I have nothing to worry about because she failed to meet her obligation first by not paying on the house and forclosing on it. I must also add that I'm including the mortgage in the bankruptcy because they are threatening to garnish my wages. Is my lawyer right? Does her not holding me harmless from the foreclosure nullify my requirement to hold her harmless as a result of my bk?

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Attorney answers 3


While an ex spouse has the right to challenge your discharge to debts you were ordered to pay in a divorce (by alleging that it is really a form of alimony), in a carefully planned bankruptcy, this is seldom an issue.

Bankurptcy judges seldom decide cases on a "tit for tat" basis, but by the evidence in your divorce decree. Your argument might persuade your ex to convince her not to file an objection, but in a trial situation, I would expect the bankruptcy court to want to consider more than just this one factor.

Hope this perspective helps!


You should be fine. Your ex already failed to live up to her end of the "hold harmless" provision. You have also indicated that you ex's actions have caused you to face a wage garnishment.

You can also ask your attorney about the possibility of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to discharge the hold harmless provision. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Legal disclaimer: This communication is for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.


Actually, that is a bit more technical an issue than you might think. In general, the bankruptcy code does not favor the discharge of marital debt or support claims. So, there is a possibility that, if you do not do it properly, your ex could still come after you. That being said, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can discharge such claims, if the plan is completed. A Chapter 7 does not discharge such debts. Talk to your attorney about the possibility of filing under Chapter 13.

The proceeding does not constitute legal advice. All statements are general statements about the law, and reflect the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The laws of your state may differ. You are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel in your state.

Lois Beasley-Carlisle

Lois Beasley-Carlisle


I would list your ex as a creditor in a bankruptcy to put them on notice that you are filing. Based on whatever actions they take you might need to hire an attorney to defend you further in bankruptcy court or divorce court.