Filing Bankruptcy? How Much Does Your Ex-Wife Hate You?

03 Jun Filing Bankruptcy? How Much Does Your Ex-Wife Hate You?

man asking holding question markIf you’re filing bankruptcy–any kind of bankruptcy–you need to know just how much your ex-wife (or ex-husband!) hates you.

We know that all bankruptcy documents must be accurate. After all, they are filed under penalty of perjury. But when you’ve got an ex spouse out there, your bankruptcy filing reallyneeds to be accurate. Ex spouses routinely review bankruptcy filings. In many cases, such as when the debtor owes alimony, child support, or has joint debt, the ex spouse will get notice of the bankruptcy. And even if they don’t get on the mailing matrix, they tend to be a bit curious.

Ex spouses LOVE to stir up trouble

Remember, she hates you. Don’t be surprised if she finds out your 1963 set of Topps baseball cards isn’t listed or that you really have 10 guns, not 3. (She remembers how you bought the last 7 and still hasn’t forgotten!) And if she notices, you can bet she’ll call the trustee.

There once was a very expensive, new baby grand piano (or, was it a cheap keyboard?)

I filed a case a few years back in which the debtor and his new wife owned an inexpensive electronic keyboard. The debtor’s son came to visit, and when he arrived back home to mom, he apparently reported that dad had a very fancy piano, which, of course, was not on the debtor’s schedules. (Yes, mom checked.)

Junior was only 11 or so, and I suspect he was just talking about his visit and innocently mentioned the new “baby grand piano.” Mom then hired an attorney to write the trustee about the expensive piano and other seeming irregularities. (He’s got a trust fund too, according to mom’s lawyer!) To a child, the “piano” must have been significant. But in reality, it was a $250 keyboard given to the family for Christmas by another family member.

So know the three levels of hatred she has for you and heed the warning signs

LEVEL ONE is the most serious. She wishes you would die, rot, and burn in hell.

Then comes LEVEL TWO. She wishes she could stab you in the neck with a knife.

And then there’s LEVEL THREE. She’s glad she divorced you, but just wants to get on with her life. Yes, sometimes she hates you, but sometimes, well, not so much.

Let’s face facts. You weren’t really good at “getting the message” when you were married. (“You just don’t get it, do you!”) You might still be missing it. You could be a level three and think, “eh, we get along okay,” when you’re really a level one. Know your level!

All bankruptcy schedules need to be honest but…

When you’ve got a former spouse out there, never underestimate how she (or he!) will comb your petition and schedules for errors, omissions, and oversights. Go the extra mile to make sure your bankruptcy filing is perfect.

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Russell A. DeMott is a Charleston, South Carolina bankruptcy lawyer who represents consumer debtors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He is the author of the Charleston Bankruptcy Blog. He is also a member of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Blog. He files bankruptcy cases for clients in the Charleston, South Carolina division, which runs from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort. The DeMott Law Firm also represents clients in foreclosure defense and mortgage modification. You can also connect with Russ on Google Plus Russell DeMott. Russ can be contacted directly at (843) 695-0830 or by email at
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