My Ex-Husband Filed for Bankruptcy. Is There Any Way I Can Get This Off My Credit Report?

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on January 28, 2010

in Bankruptcy, Couples and Money, Credit Scores, Debt, Family Finances, Loans, Scams


Q: My Ex-Husband Filed for Bankruptcy Without My Knowledge Before We Divorced in 2008. The Bankruptcy Included a Loan On Which I Was a Co-Signer. Now My Credit Score Has Dropped to 525. Is There Any Way I Can Get This Off My Credit or Prove That He Filed Bankruptcy Without My Knowledge?

A: This is a tough situation – and one that I know seems terribly unfair. That’s why I hate to tell you that, frankly, I don’t know of any way for you to get this information removed from your credit report for two reasons. First, the loan account was already included in your former husband’s bankruptcy filing. That’s a done deal. So even though your ex-spouse filed for bankruptcy without your knowledge, the fact that he went ahead and included in his bankruptcy a loan on which you were a co-signer has dragged you into a messy situation. Additionally, under the law when two people co-sign for a debt, they are each responsible for repaying that debt – even if you have a divorce decree that says he was supposed to pay certain outstanding bills. When joint debts go unpaid, creditors have the legal right to seek repayment from each party, and to report to the credit bureaus that each of those individuals has unpaid debts, or debts in bankruptcy.


Only Time Will Help

Since you said your former husband “is making payments toward the bankruptcy,” I assumed he filed Chapter 13, which is a reorganization plan. Under Chapter 13, you repay some or most of what you owed to creditors over a period of 3 to 5 years. While the bankruptcy is in repayment, that loan and that bankruptcy will continue to show on his credit report, and unfortunately on yours too.  The best thing you can do is to manage other aspects of your credit well. Pay all your bills on time. Keep your credit card debt low. And don’t try to open new credit accounts, because inquiries will further lower your credit score. Since you said you wanted to buy a new car, consider forgoing that purchase, or be prepared to save up money over a year or more to buy a car – or to at least have a very big down-payment, which might make a dealer more willing to offer you financing. Over time, the impact of that bankruptcy filing will do less damage to your credit score.



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Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach

Personal Finance Expert and Co-Founder at Ask The Money Coach.com
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of numerous books on personal finance. She appears frequently as an expert commentator on television, radio and in print.

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Brandy

My husband and I divorced 4 years ago. In our divorce agreement he retained sole ownership of the home and the first and second mortgage. I co-signed for the second mortgage. The first mortgage is in his name only and the home was purchased before we were married. He’s now filing chapter 7 bankruptcy and does not want to keep the house. The mortgage company on the second will likely come after me for the debt. He will have the debt forgiven after bankruptcy. Do I have any rights here? After the debt is discharged can I still go after him for the money I pay per the divorce agreement (the agreement states that he is soley responsible and has to notify me if he’s late on a payment so that I can pay it and have him pay me back within 90 days). He has made no notice to me of not paying this debt. I’m worried that the house will go into foreclosure, I will be stuck with a second mortgage and have no rights to the home since i waived those rights in my divorce agreement. Is there anything that I can do? Can they foreclose the house even with my name on the deed and 2nd mortgage because I gave away my rights in the divorce? Really not fun getting a bankruptcy notice 4 years later and I’m really concerned. I’m a single mother and am very concerned. Thank you for your help.

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