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In Our Divorce My Ex-Husband Was to Pay Half of My Credit Card Bills But He’s Filing for Bankruptcy. – Becky

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

Credit cards that are in my name only.

My ex husband was ordered to pay half of my credit card bills… they are all in my name only… he did not pay so I took him back to court and they held him contempt and ordered him to pay a certainty amount each month until they are paid. He now says hes going to file bankruptcy. . Can he file since he was held contempt? Thanks



Dear Becky,

The underlying issue here would be the fact the credit cards are all in your name. Ultimately the responsibility for those debts rests with you.

The divorce agreement is an understanding between you and your ex-husband regarding responsibility. As you discovered, taking him back to court to enforce the agreement is probably the only option you have to make him pay.

Your divorce agreement probably has a hold harmless clause in it where he agreed to pay part of your debts and hold you harmless for the liability of these debts. – Source

Apparently he’s now indicated he is going to file bankruptcy and if he files a chapter 13 bankruptcy that can be a real problem moving forward.

Bankruptcy attorney Russ Cope said, “When BAPCPA was enacted in 2005, Congress provided certain incentives to encourage debtors to file for relief under Chapter 13 as opposed to Chapter 7. As an example, Chapter 13 debtors can discharge debt repayment obligations created by a divorce decree. In other words, a Chapter 13 debtor cannot be held in contempt for failing to hold an ex-spouse harmless on joint marital debt. However, this is not the case with a Chapter 7 debtor.”

So if your ex-husband is planing to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy it looks like he’s found a way to get out from under his debt obligations without being in contempt.

But at this point there is a big difference between him saying he is going to file bankruptcy and filing bankruptcy. The bottom line is he either does not want to pay or can’t pay and that’s creating this problem.

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Can you share any information about the current status of your husbands financial condition. Is he struggling and just unable to pay?

One consideration is if there might be some way to renegotiate the payment he is supposed to make to something that is mutually agreeable. Something would be better than nothing. Would you be willing to explore that?

If your ex-husband is no longer going to pay and does file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, can you afford to pay the debts yourself or do we need to look at your situation as well?

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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