My Ex Says I Need to Claim 1099-C But I Don’t Think So


Dear Steve,

My wife and I were divorced in 2014. The court ordered our house sold and my ex was responsible for the 1st mortgage payments and the HELOC. When the HELOC was taken out, she was the borrower, I was not.

I had no access to the money and didn’t spend any of it. My ex did – on what, I don’t know.

We had a short sale and the 1st mortgage was paid off, but the $150k HELOC was not. She received a 1099C from the HELOC grantor and is now telling me that I need to claim 60% of it and she 40% because our asset split was 60/40. The proceeds from the sale of the house were supposed to be split 50/50.
Do I need to claim 50% or nothing? From what I understand, this is her debt cancellation not mine.

Thank you.



Dear Clay,

First off, I’m not a tax expert but I can share my opinion. It seems like the debt was her sole responsibility. And technically the house was not an asset, but a liability since it was worth less than the amount owed against it.

You really need to talk to a tax preparer in your area but the debt was apparently not your liability and so the 1099-C would not be issued in your name and not your responsibility.

The only other issue I can see would be if this was described in your divorce agreement and in that document you agreed to accept some of the debt forgiveness. It would be a great question for your divorce attorney to answer for you.

Another factor might be if the mortgage was taken out after you got married and you lived in a community property state.

Here is another similar question and answer on the same topic.


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