What debts can be included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

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What debts can be included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

My wife abandoned our home within the past 2 years, and took my young son, for whose support my wages are garnished. She has since had a second child with another man. We are not divorced. I am unable to pay the mortgage, truck payment, a $6,000 legal bill from the custody issue, etc. I have no money to initiate a divorce. Her name is on the mortgage, which is now 4 months in arrears. What can I do to get some relief?

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Bankruptcy may not help yuou as much as you'd hope, given the debts you have:

1) Child support obligations are not affected by bankuptcy.

2) If you have a secured debt, like the typical truck or car loan, if you want to keep the vehicle, you'll have to keep paying the debt; you could walk away from the debt in bankrupcty, but you'd lose the truck (but couldn't be sued for any remaining balance on the loan).

On the other hand:

3) If the wife's name is the only name on the mortgage, if you stop paying it, she'll need to keep paying or else lose the home. A default on a mortgage which is not yours (i.e. when your name is not on it and you're not the debtor) wil not afect your credit rating and you can't be sued by the bank on the mortgage--thought your wife may be able to  sue you  had any agreement to pay it on her behalf, or if she initiates divorce, your failure to pay the mortgage may be factored into dividing any assets or setting your suppot allegations for her (divorce). So you could continue to not pay on this, but it may affect in divorce or otherwise later.

4) You should be able to discharge the lawyer bills in bankuptcy, however.

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