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Author: MonicaLea Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308225  
Subject: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 11:11 AM
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I am in the middle of a divorce. At our PDL we divided up the debts, I would take the debts in my name, he would take his and the joint bills since he makes roughly 4 times what I make. I have paid off all but one credit card and thought things were going fine. Then I get a letter from a collection agency for Target saying that he had declared bankruptcy and that our joint account was closed and I was responsible for the remainder of the bill. I was furious at him, but unfortunately that's the way it goes because it is a joint account.

I knew nothing of this because I had no notice whatsoever. If I had known I would have paid the thing before it got to collections. This is what makes me the angriest. I called them pay the balance and they take it out of collections. I then start calling everyone whom we had joint accounts with, a furniture credit card and a car loan, to find out what the status is with those. He reaffirmed the car loan and is paying it but the other credit card is still in a 1 year no payment deal but he hasn't made a single payment on it ever. It's now in my name only. I have made some payments myself on the rare occasion that I actually had some extra cash, but that's it. As you can imagine, my lawyer is going after him like a duck on a June bug over this since he agreed to pay these debts in the PDL agreement.

But what I'm wondering now is how will his bankruptcy effect my credit? The rest of the debts he owed (And there was a lot, about $44K, which is one huge reason I'm divorcing him.) were cards he got on the sly that I didn't have any access to but some had me as an authorized user. I had my name removed from the one's I knew about when I left, but there were some that he listed me on that I didn't find out about until I got my credit reports.
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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277574 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 11:37 AM
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But what I'm wondering now is how will his bankruptcy effect my credit?

His bankruptcy could affect your credit in 2 ways:(1) including joint accounts in the bankruptcy and (2) including accounts that you are an authorized user on in the bankruptcy.

It's not clear to me from your post if there are joint accounts that you have not taken on that are included in the bankruptcy - you said you paid the Target card, have had one other debt put in your name, and that he has re-affirmed the car debt so it's not in the BK. Are there additional joint accounts?

Even if there are not additional joint accounts, the aftermath of having accounts that have collections and late payments on your record may. Before you pay any more collections on joint accounts, you should try to negotiate with any creditor to take the history of the account off of your credit report in return for payments.

Legally, as an authorized user, rather than a joint owner, the credit card companies should not be able to ask you for payment. However, the authorized user late payment/collection/bankruptcy information will be negatives on your credit history. You need to request that your name be taken off of these accounts, and that the history be removed from your credit report, as they are not your accounts and you had no knowledge of them. You may need to get your attorney involved.

The rest of the debts he owed (And there was a lot, about $44K, which is one huge reason I'm divorcing him.) were cards he got on the sly that I didn't have any access to but some had me as an authorized user. I had my name removed from the one's I knew about when I left, but there were some that he listed me on that I didn't find out about until I got my credit reports.

Lesson here is that you should have pulled the credit reports before finalizing the agreement of what he was going to pay vs. what you were going to pay. And it is likely that you should have been monitoring your credit reports since the agreement was put into place, so you would have had a bit more knowledge of what was going on. You may not have been able to stop the first 30 day late payment that occurred, but you would have had a bit more notice, and might have been able to prevent the rest of the damage to your credit history.

AJ

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Author: kaellner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277575 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 12:08 PM
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I am in the middle of a divorce.

Congratulations for making a smart choice.

But what I'm wondering now is how will his bankruptcy effect my credit?

Any account on your reports that have a reference to a BK will sink your score. You have to send letters to the companies that list the BK to get them to remove it. Some companies are easier than others. Just refer to the divorce agreement and most will respond in your favor.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277579 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 1:42 PM
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my lawyer is going after him like a duck on a June bug over this since he agreed to pay these debts in the PDL agreement

Good luck, I hope that your lawyer hasn't given you false hope.

Debra

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277580 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 1:56 PM
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<<As you can imagine, my lawyer is going after him like a duck on a June bug over this since he agreed to pay these debts in the PDL agreement.
>>


Ummm. If the guy has filed for bankruptcy, it's probably strictly forbidden to make collection calls on almost any kind of debt. Doing so invites the person doing so being brought before a bankruptcy judge who usually has very little sympathy for ignoring such court orders.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277581 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 2:17 PM
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Ummm. If the guy has filed for bankruptcy, it's probably strictly forbidden to make collection calls on almost any kind of debt. Doing so invites the person doing so being brought before a bankruptcy judge who usually has very little sympathy for ignoring such court orders.



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The only possible loophole is that the divorce agreement wasn't properly handled in the the bankruptcy. The accounts discharged in bankruptcy can no longer collect from him. She might have standing to sue him over not fulfulling the divorce agreement, but the only thing that is guaranteed is the fees she will pay the lawyer.

Debra

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Author: kaellner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277582 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 2:21 PM
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Ummm. If the guy has filed for bankruptcy, it's probably strictly forbidden to make collection calls on almost any kind of debt. Doing so invites the person doing so being brought before a bankruptcy judge who usually has very little sympathy for ignoring such court orders.

You are correct, in general, but it looks like the divorce comes first and the bankruptcy cannot overrule the divorce decree. I'm sure the lawyer knows what she is allowed to pursue.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277587 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 4:38 PM
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<<Ummm. If the guy has filed for bankruptcy, it's probably strictly forbidden to make collection calls on almost any kind of debt. Doing so invites the person doing so being brought before a bankruptcy judge who usually has very little sympathy for ignoring such court orders.

You are correct, in general, but it looks like the divorce comes first and the bankruptcy cannot overrule the divorce decree. I'm sure the lawyer knows what she is allowed to pursue.

>>


Just guessing, but I'd bet that a Federal bankruptcy judge can discharge such obligations with a stroke of the pen.

What the lawyer may do we really don't know. I'd be interested in finding out how this gets resolved.


But in general, I'd guess it would be very unwise to contact the party who filed the BK. Go through the bankruptcy motions to file a claim with the other creditors is the likely way to handle it.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: legalwordwarrior Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277588 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 4:57 PM
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But in general, I'd guess it would be very unwise to contact the party who filed the BK. Go through the bankruptcy motions to file a claim with the other creditors is the likely way to handle it.

That's the whole point isn't it? They are contacting him, they're going after her and she hasn't filed BK, so she's still a target as far as the creditors are concerned.

If her soon to be ex had been a decent sort, he would have gotten her name off the accounts before he filed for BK. As it is, it probably doesn't bother him one whit that she's now got a financial mess to deal with. I hope her lawyer can at least get her some sort of judgement as he chose to ignore the agreement.

LWW

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277589 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 5:05 PM
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<<If her soon to be ex had been a decent sort, he would have gotten her name off the accounts before he filed for BK. As it is, it probably doesn't bother him one whit that she's now got a financial mess to deal with. I hope her lawyer can at least get her some sort of judgement as he chose to ignore the agreement.

LWW>>
\


People seem to think a divorce settlement has some kind of priority. As far as I know, it's just another court order. A creditor may have a judgement from a court on a credit card bill that they want to collect --- same deal.

This is the down side to bankruptcy --- it lets people off the hook from their bad decision making. Usually it's businesses that get harmed by this, but it can damage individuals caught up as creditors as well, and appears to be doing so in this case.

I'm guessing that the lawyer probably can file a claim with the bankruptcy court, but it might well be treated like any other creditor's claim, and might well get nothing in the end.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: aroneous Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277590 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 5:16 PM
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SP, stay out of marital and family law - as a confirmed and rabid bachelor, you really have no basis for contributing.

BK laws specifically deal with this situation, and do exempt divorce/alimony/child support (there are stipulations of course, and no one should attempt to proceed without an attorney). However, I'd bet dollars to donuts OP's attorney DID bother to be sure about the BK laws before proceeding.

Also, since his debt to her only arose AFTER the discharge, it is not included in any BK. Prior to discharge, he owed Target (or whomever) and did not owe her anything. After discharge, when she paid the debt, a debt to her was created.

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Author: aroneous Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277591 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 5:20 PM
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There are, in fact, entire categories of debts that cannot be eliminated in a BK.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277592 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 5:50 PM
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<<SP, stay out of marital and family law - as a confirmed and rabid bachelor, you really have no basis for contributing.

BK laws specifically deal with this situation, and do exempt divorce/alimony/child support (there are stipulations of course, and no one should attempt to proceed without an attorney). However, I'd bet dollars to donuts OP's attorney DID bother to be sure about the BK laws before proceeding.
>>


Sorry, but being married doesn't give you any expertise on the subject.


Bankruptcy does give special rights to child support bills. I don't know if that applies to alimony or not.

It does not apply to credit card bills in a property settlement as far as I know, which is the issue at hand. Do you have information to the contrary?


As to what the attorney might have done, we don't know. They may simply have filed a claim in the bankruptcy action.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277595 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 8:48 PM
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Sorry, but being married doesn't give you any expertise on the subject.

Bankruptcy does give special rights to child support bills. I don't know if that applies to alimony or not.

It does not apply to credit card bills in a property settlement as far as I know, which is the issue at hand. Do you have information to the contrary?

As to what the attorney might have done, we don't know. They may simply have filed a claim in the bankruptcy action.


Quite true. And none of us, whether we are lawyers, paralegals, or, in kahuna's case, para-legals (he always insists on misspelling the word) are experts in bankruptcy/divorce actions. To be honest, I don't think any of us have the right, or the knowledge, to try to untangle the legal ramifications of this case.

Nancy

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Author: aroneous Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277597 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 9:51 PM
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I think you misunderstood me - I'm not always as clear as I'd like.

He can of course BK a credit card debt. He cannot BK his obligation toward his ex-wife regarding that debt. He no longers owes the credit card company. He does owe his wife.

And there's a fair amount of case law supporting the notion that he not only must "make her whole" in terms of repaying her for paying his discharged debt, but may also be held liable for any damages she suffers as a result of his BK'ing joint debt assigned to him in the divorce. If she is charges a higher interest rate on a loan due to the hit her credit scorfe is taking, he can be held liable for it. If her CC's raise her rate as a result, he can be held liable for the additional charges.

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Author: aroneous Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277598 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 9:56 PM
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and, actually, as a co-debtor on the joint debts, BK laws require that she be included in the BK filings as a creditor, that she be noticed regarding the filing of BK and of the hearing time and date, and that she be noticed of her right to respond and petition the BK judge to disallow discharge for a particular debt or debt(s).

Based on what the OP did tell us (which is, of course, limited) it does not sound like that was done. Either his BK attorney did not do his job, or the ex-husband didn't provide full info to his attorney. Either way, it is possible his discharge will be completely or partially nullified, and in some jurisdictions he (and possibly his attorney, depending on the facts of the situation) could be facing charges of BK fraud.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277600 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/25/2008 10:41 PM
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the ex-husband didn't provide full info to his attorney.

I suspect that the ex didn't think about the divorce settlement and did not fully inform his lawyer.

Debra

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277601 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/26/2008 12:34 AM
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<<He can of course BK a credit card debt. He cannot BK his obligation toward his ex-wife regarding that debt. He no longers owes the credit card company. He does owe his wife.

And there's a fair amount of case law supporting the notion that he not only must "make her whole" in terms of repaying her for paying his discharged debt, but may also be held liable for any damages she suffers as a result of his BK'ing joint debt assigned to him in the divorce. If she is charges a higher interest rate on a loan due to the hit her credit scorfe is taking, he can be held liable for it. If her CC's raise her rate as a result, he can be held liable for the additional charges.
>>


Do you have any references to support this claim? I've never heard of any of it, myself.

I know that child support obligations typically can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Whether that applies to alimony, I don't know.

I've never heard any claim that it applied to other parts of a property settlement in a divorce. As far as I'm aware, a property settlement is a court order no different than other court judgements, which are routinely discharged through bankruptcy.


But if I'm wrong, perhaps you can provide a reference that would describe this in more detail so I can understand it.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277602 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/26/2008 12:44 AM
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I've never heard any claim that it applied to other parts of a property settlement in a divorce. As far as I'm aware, a property settlement is a court order no different than other court judgements, which are routinely discharged through bankruptcy.

To be discharged, a debt must be properly handled during the bankruptcy process. The default is that property settlements are non-dischargeable. This undoubtably was a reaction to ex-spouses who agreed to a property settlement (often in lieu of child support) and then immediately filed bankruptcy.

Debra

http://bankruptcy.lifetips.com/cat/64921/bankruptcy-divorce/...

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277603 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/26/2008 12:44 AM
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http://bankruptcy.lawyers.com/Bankruptcy-After-Divorce.html





Bankruptcy and the automatic stay on collections

<<When your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy, all efforts to collect any debts have to stop unless they fit within one of the exceptions in the bankruptcy statute. This is known as the "automatic stay." The most important one for you when your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy is the one that excepts from the automatic stay the commencement or continuation of a proceeding to establish or modify a support award or collect support from property that is not property of the bankruptcy estate. 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(2).

>>





Bankruptcy and child support and alimony


<<Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, among the changes in creditor priority is that unpaid child support and alimony has priority over any other creditor, including taxes owed. If you are owed back support it is very important that you file a "proof of claim" with the bankruptcy court to receive payment.

>>


Bankruptcy and Property Settlements


<<The new bankruptcy law made non-support obligations from a divorce or separation non-dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy if the discharge of the obligation would harm the spouse to whom the obligation is owed more than it would harm the person who owes it, your ex-spouse. 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(15). A debt that is non-dischargeable means that your ex-spouse is still responsible for it. You should file a complaint in bankruptcy court to get the property settlement debt excepted from discharge. If you don't file a claim with the bankruptcy court, the debt may be wiped out and you won't be able to collect it later.

The discharge in a chapter 13 case is somewhat broader than in a chapter 7 case. Debts dischargeable in a chapter 13, but not in chapter 7, include debts arising from property settlements in divorce or separation proceedings.

How do bankruptcy courts decide what's a support obligation and what's a property settlement? It varies greatly by state, but courts have based their decisions on such questions as:

Does the obligation terminate or reduce with the occurrence of certain events, like remarriage or a child turning 18?
Is the obligation in installments or a lump sum?
Are there minor children?
What is the relative health and education of the parties?
Was there a need for support at the time of the divorce?
The way in which the divorce decree is written can reduce the chance that the bankruptcy court will discharge the debt. You can reduce the likelihood that the debt will not be discharged by labeling the debt payments as either support or alimony in the decree.

>>



It looks like property settlements may or may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277604 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/26/2008 12:50 AM
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<<and, actually, as a co-debtor on the joint debts, BK laws require that she be included in the BK filings as a creditor, that she be noticed regarding the filing of BK and of the hearing time and date, and that she be noticed of her right to respond and petition the BK judge to disallow discharge for a particular debt or debt(s).

Based on what the OP did tell us (which is, of course, limited) it does not sound like that was done. Either his BK attorney did not do his job, or the ex-husband didn't provide full info to his attorney. Either way, it is possible his discharge will be completely or partially nullified, and in some jurisdictions he (and possibly his attorney, depending on the facts of the situation) could be facing charges of BK fraud.
>>


Perhaps, but there are lots of explanations for not receiving such a notice. Perhaps the divorced spouse moved and the bankruptcy notice was sent to the last known address, for example.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: MonicaLea Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277612 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/26/2008 10:26 AM
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You are correct, I was never notified of the BK. He filed in April and I got the letter from Target telling me he had filed and that the account was placed in my name only in June. When I got the letter the first thing I did was call my lawyer and she'd heard nothing about it either. To be honest, I'd be surprised if he even told his divorce attorney. That's his standard MO in most things. I don't know if I wasn't notified because the lawyer doing the BK didn't do his job or if my soon to be ex didn't tell him. Either is a possibility. And while I did move, he was well aware of my address as I am required to keep him informed as to where our daughters are living. There is no way it was "lost in the mail."

And to answer an earlier post, I did negotiate with Target to get the account out of collections and according to them it won't even appear that it was ever in collections. We'll see about that. Also, the other other joint accounts are the car and the furniture card. Those will most likely end up having to be settled at the final hearing Sept. 2nd.

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 277673 of 308225
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and Divorce Date: 8/27/2008 3:43 PM
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Bankruptcy law is designed to be plaintiff friendly (i don't recall the exact term) - believe it or not - on the assumption that plaintiffs filing may not have the resources for counsel.

this means that the courts (through the trustee assigned to each case) have a great deal of leeway both ways - such as nailing plaintiffs on attempted fraud, and allowing them leniency in filing.

and the courts vary widely among the 90 federal districts, so it is inappropriate for us to attempt a reliable opinion of any kind.

BklynBorn

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