Can debts assigned in a divorce agreement be discharged in bankruptcy by either party?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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Can debts assigned in a divorce agreement be discharged in bankruptcy by either party?

Specifically joint loan accounts, be discharged in bankruptcy by either party? My ex-husband and I have a joint unsecured loan that he has been paying from day one, and he managed to have the divorce papers read that I am responsible for it 100% under equitable distribution (he is still paying and hasn’t contacted me), and since I was broke and homeless at the time, and he would only agree to the divorce with that clause, I signed it thinking I had no choice. I have since remarried and all we get each month is one SSI check.

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Theoretically, debts assigned in a divorce are done to equitablly divide between the parties since those debts are usually considered marital debts. If you have a joint loan account and you could not refinance that loan out into only your name for example, then when you file for bankruptcy, it may and probably will impact the other person's credit and it may require the other person to agree to the filing for that debt to be discharged. You should consult with legal aid and see if you can just simply file for bankruptcy based on a) your inability to pay and b) file the agreement and divorce decree along with your bankruptcy paperwork to show what you cannot afford.

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