What to do if I was just awarded a judgement against my now ex-husband but won’t be able to collect because he is filing for bankruptcy?

It is a significant amount of money. After the judge awarded it to me, my husband laughed and said that I would not see a dime and that he will just file bankruptcy. The money he owes me is for debt that is still owed to creditors. Do I have any recourse? The debt still has to be paid but now it seems as though I will have to pay it myself.

Asked on October 4, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Colorado

Answers:

Terence Fenelon / Law Offices of Terence Fenelon

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You don't provide enough detail for a response to your question.  How was the judgment awarded to you?  Was it as a result of a marital settlement agreement?  A failure to pay a past support obligation?  A debt payable in the nature of support?  A default based upon a prior indemnification agreement? 

Most debts, attributable to a divorce decree or marital settlement agreement or Judgment cannot be discharged in bankruptcy under 11 USC 523(a)(5).  However, depending upon the nature of the debt, and timing, there are exceptions.

I would advise that you attempt to collect the debt and let the spouse file.    Consult with a capable family law/bankruptcy attorney (they do exist) and explore your options.  Don't give into the bluff.  Good luck.


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