Monday, December 14, 2009

Thinking of Filing Bankruptcy After a Divorce? Read This!

Thanks to a tweet from Jay Fleischman on Sunday I ran across You Mean My X-Wife Will Find Out About My Bankruptcy?. I decided it might benefit my readers. Go read the whole post, but the points that jumped out to me are:

If there’s an alimony or child support obligation, the former spouse will get notice of the bankruptcy—even if the support obligations are current. And if there are debts which the debtor has been ordered to pay for which the former spouse is jointly liable, the former spouse must also get notice as a co-debtor.

I always tell my clients to plan on the former spouse getting a copy of their bankruptcy schedules and reading every words on those schedules. This isn’t because I think my clients are liars; it’s because even an innocent, inadvertent omission will look very bad if the former spouse reports the omission to the trustee.


Even more so than with “normal” cases, I would suggest that those of you who are divorced should make absolutely certain that all your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities—along with all other information—are completely accurate. Go slow, and be thorough. Don’t leave anything out.

See, there are family law attorneys who will go into the bankruptcy court to keep non-dischargeable debts from being discharged. (Give my What happens when your former spouse files bankruptcy on a marital debt? a read on that subject). Best practice is not to play games with the bankruptcy court.

1 comment:

Jay S. Fleischman said...

Thanks for passing this post along, Sam. Most debtors are honest people just trying to get on with their lives, but the system is rigged to an extent. No omission is seen as casual or mistaken; rather, it's perceived as made with the intent to hide something from the trustee and the court. That's why it's best to take the time to review all schedules and statements - in bankruptcy, as well as in life.