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Ask Brent Blanchard Your Own Question
Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Bankruptcy Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 1975
Experience:  Twelve years experience in all aspects of debtor & creditor BK.
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I have about 30k in credit card and other debt, all run up

Customer Question

I have about 30k in credit card and other debt, all run up on my cards last year by my soon-to-be-ex-husband, who has since disappeared. I am unemployed, and have no way to pay this. How do I file for bankruptcy? What else should I know in regards XXXXX XXXXX situation?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear about the circumstances that prompted you to come to

Our Terms of Service (please see Paragraph 7) do not allow us to advice Customers what to do. That's for clients in a regular attorney-client setting. But I can tell you how the law works.

First, California law presumes equal division of marital debts and assets acquired during hoe marriage is fair. The divorcing couple carries the burden of proof to show otherwise, and there is a doctrine of "dissipation of marital assets" that justifies an unequal division. Short version--one spouse wastes all the money on himself or herself, providing no benefit to the "marital community".

Second, assignments of debts and assets between the spouses in a divorce court is binding ONLY on the two spouses. The creditors were NOT part of that fight and had no chance to challenge any of the division of debts.

Third, the only reliable and certain way to get rid of credit card debts is bankruptcy. If the income level (an annual figure, adjusted every January/February or so, and calculated on the past six months' income before the date of filing) is too high, the debtor would need to file a Chapter 13 case and enter into a five-year repayment plan, with everything left unpaid at the end discharged. Below that threshold (in California right now, $47,234 for a single person, and $61,954 for a family of two), a Chapter 7 case can be filed without any challenge based on income level.

Not everything can be discharged in bankruptcy. You can't tell what until you fill out the forms.

There are a lot of self-help resources around, of varying reliability. I don't recall the name right now, but there is a $100 or $200 web-based software package intended for consumers and small-volume attorney's offices. It's very important to get it right, or the case can be dismissed and the creditors can all resume all collection efforts right away.

Thank you.