So you are in the midst of a divorce and there is a significant amount of joint marital debt that is weighing you down and has caused stress in your marriage. You have been advised that a bankruptcy will relieve you of this debt and allow you to move on. The only problem is, your spouse doesn’t want to file. What do you do?
The answer is, nothing! Just file by yourself and get the relief you need! There is nothing in bankruptcy law that says that a married couple must file together if there is joint debt, so don’t let a recalcitrant spouse hold you back!
Be Wary of the Family Court Judge
However, this step must be taken as part of your overall divorce strategy, coordinated with your divorce attorney. Why? Because the bankruptcy discharge will give you relief from the creditors, but a family court judge might still make you responsible for the debt in the divorce as part of a support obligation, forcing you to “hold harmless” the spouse that refused to file.
Your spouse should not be too smug, though, if this should happen. This is because creditors do not care what your family court judge ordered; he or she is also responsible for the debt, and they can still seek payment through bank levies, wage garnishments, and the like. Your spouse would then have to come after you for reimbursement under the family court order.
The bottom line is that your spouse needs to swallow his or her pride and agree to file jointly with you. It gets rid of the obligations for both of you and simplifies your divorce, in that you don’t have to fight over apportioning them. You can then get on with your lives financially.
So What Do I Do?
If you live in southern New Jersey, are getting divorced, and are considering filing bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.
If you are looking for more information on how bankruptcy might help you with your divorce, then you should download my free book, Top Questions Divorcing Couples Ask About NJ Bankruptcy.