Ask A Lawyer

Tell Us Your Case Information for Fastest Lawyer Match!

Please include all relevant details from your case including where, when, and who it involoves.
Case details that can effectively describe the legal situation while also staying concise generally receive the best responses from lawyers.

By submitting this lawyer request, I confirm I have read and agree to the Consent to Receive Email, Phone, Text Messages, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy. Information provided may not be privileged or confidential.

My Ex-Spouse Is Filing for Bankruptcy! Does It Affect Me?

by Gregory Mark Fitzgerald on Feb. 12, 2016

Bankruptcy & Debt Bankruptcy 

Summary: This article outlines your options when an ex-spouse files for bankruptcy.

If you are divorced and you have been notified that your ex is filing for bankruptcy protection, you are probably wondering how his or her filing will impact you. This can be particularly worrisome if your ex-spouse is liable for the majority of the marital debt under the divorce decree. Many clients contact us because they are concerned that creditors will start pursuing them to collect the debt.

To understand how your ex’s personal bankruptcy will impact you, it is important to understand that the automatic stay will immediately provide your ex with protection from creditors. The stay prohibits creditors from pursuing any collection efforts against your ex while the bankruptcy case is pending. Thus, most creditors will start reviewing their contracts to determine if any other parties (such as you) are liable on the debt.

Your ex will most likely be able to discharge or eliminate the majority of his or her debt, even those debts that your ex agreed to pay in the divorce agreement. Thus, if you remain liable on the marital debt (your name is still on the contract with the lender or creditor and you haven’t been released), you remain obligated to pay the debt. It is also important to understand that if you live in a community property state, it can impact how your ex’s bankruptcy may affect you.

You may be wondering why the divorce decree doesn’t protect you since it orders your ex to pay the marital debt. Unless your creditor agrees to modify the loan or release from the contract, your creditors are not bound by the divorce decree. As a result, if you were jointly liable for the debt prior to the divorce, the debt is still owed by both you and your ex after the divorce.

If your ex-spouse is planning to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case and you have a significant amount of joint debt, contact us for help. You may want to think about negotiating with the creditors to settle the debts or even consider filing your own bankruptcy case. Let our legal team review your individual finances and help you understand all of your available options.

Contact the Orange, Riverside and Alameda law firm of Fitzgerald Campbell, California’s premier debtor protection law firm. We can work with you to create a debtor protection plan and can work to halt harassment and reduce and eliminate debt. Contact us for a consultation by calling 855-709-5788 or emailing us at

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.