Hello and thank you for allowing me to address your legal questions. I’ll take them one at a time.
#1. I want to make sure my ex husbands name is XXXXX XXXXX any of my credit cards. How do I find out? In our divorce I assumed all credit card debt, but not sure that helps. I do not want his credit affected or for them to make him pay.
The easiest way to find out if your ex-husband is on the account is to call the credit card companies and ask. Your ex-husband can also tell you (if he doesn’t know, then he can look call the credit card companies or look at his credit report).
I will warn you that the judge’s order for you to assume the credit card debt has no effect on the credit card companies’ rights to force your ex-husband to pay if he is listed on the account.
#2. I am trying to sell my house and may have a 15,000 profit. Should I use that money towards credit cards or use it to pay off my $9000 mortgage on this mobile home I bought for $14,900 and am now living in.
The answer depends on too many unknown factors at this point. For example, it partially depends on your state’s laws with regard to homestead exemptions. If your state allows a large enough homestead exemption, then paying off the mortgage is a good idea. The homestead exemption means that your home is protected against creditors up to the dollar limit allowed. Some states don’t have a homestead exemption (Maryland, for example), some may allow an exemption up to a certain amount of equity (New York, for example), and some have an unlimited exemption (Florida, for example).
The answer also partially depends on when you plan to file for bankruptcy. This is because the bankruptcy laws do not allow a debtor to favor one creditor over another, and if that happens just prior to filing for bankruptcy, then the bankruptcy trustee (he’s the person who oversees your bankruptcy) has the legal power to reverse the transaction. In other words, he could force your mortgage company to give the money back so that it can be fairly divided among your creditors.
I recommend you consult with a local bankruptcy attorney who can guide you as to this type of strategy.
#3. How far back do they look at your bank statements and credit card statements?
The bankruptcy trustee can look back as far as he wants to if he is investigating a fraudulent transfer. A fraudulent transfer occurs when a debtor purposely transfers assets to another person with the intent to defraud a creditor. In other words, it is illegal for a debtor to give away his property in order to prevent it from being used to repay her debts. If the bankruptcy trustee suspects that occurred, then he has the legal power to review your records for as far back as he wants. That said, in the vast majority of cases, he’ll probably look back at just a few months.
A creditor may also review records from years past if it suspects fraud. This is because debts obtained through fraud are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. For example, if you lied about your income in order to be approved for a loan, then that loan may not be dischargeable. Unless there is some evidence of fraud, the chances of that happening is remote.
I truly wish you luck. Bankruptcy is not pleasant, but when it’s over it can be a huge stress reliever.
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