By Ryan C. Wood
First of all you should call your divorce attorney or retain a divorce attorney to inquire about how to enforce the divorce decree against your ex-spouse. This article is not intended to provide information about enforcement of divorce decrees. What this article is about is a way to just make the drama, frustration and repeated trips to court all go away so you can finally move on with your life without your ex-spouse or the debt. And yes, filing bankruptcy is part of finally making it all go away.
The issue is that you got divorced, say 2-3 years ago, and the divorce decree split the community debts incurred during marriage between both your spouse and you. You are now both responsible to pay half of the community debts. What happens if your ex-spouse does not pay their half? Will you, the spouse that is making payments, have to pay the half your ex-spouse is failing to pay? Will your ex-spouses failure to pay cause you to have negative history on your credit report? Why deal with any of this.
How do you make all this go away? Believe it or not a bankruptcy can make the divorce process much simpler when debts are taken out of the equation. Unfortunately many divorcees do not have any assets of significance to divide and there are only debts to deal with.
File bankruptcy before you get divorced and discharge all of the unsecured debts incurred during marriage. Depending upon your income, expenses and assets you may qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge all of your eligible unsecured debts. You will be able to move on with your life and not look back. And yes, you have to file bankruptcy to do it. If you have a domestic support obligation such as child support or spousal support it is not dischargeable under any chapter of the bankruptcy code. Section 523(a)(5) excepts this type of debt from a discharge. This is true in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Filing bankruptcy is no easy decision though and both you and your soon to be ex-spouse have to agree to file bankruptcy. This is usually where the problems start to arise. Often times the bankruptcy lawyer is caught in the middle. One spouse refuses to file bankruptcy and saddles both spouses with debts for years to come. Some spouses just find it easier to pay the debts off than pay an attorney to enforce a divorce decree/order against their former spouse. This is always an option as well.