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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 9695
Experience:  Licensed to Practice Law
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I live in OH. My husband & I divorced in March of this year.

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I live in OH. My husband & I divorced in March of this year. The home that we lived in for 22yrs has roughly about 30% equity in it. In the divorce decree it was said to be sold and any profits be spit equally between us. Now, I get a letter in the mail stating he is filing Chapter 7 and the loan is only in his name, but both our names are XXXXX XXXXX deed. I couldn't afford to stay there and I was told by my divorce lawyer that whoever gets the house gets all costs related to the property. I am disabled and I get spousal support and SSI. Was this right or not? From what I was reading online it sounds like since I was unable to work, I could have stayed there all of this time instead of struggling to pay my rent and debts related to our marriage that were in my name, which my ex still has yet to repay me. The costs for my medical care are phenomenal esp when I'm in the Medicare gap or aka donut hole. One necessary drug I need for my kidney disease is over $300 and I haven't even been able to get it this month. I need some advice before his hearing on Nov 20. From what I read, he could actually transfer the property to me and they could not touch me because I'm not his spouse. He already married his 28yr old g/f just shy of 3 mos after our divorce of 30yrs. Please help me, If I could reside there and not owe anything, I could survive.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

Q: I was told by my divorce lawyer that whoever gets the house gets all costs related to the property. I am disabled and I get spousal support and SSI. Was this right or not? From what I was reading online it sounds like since I was unable to work, I could have stayed there all of this time instead of struggling to pay my rent and debts related to our marriage
A: Technically, since your ex signed the mortgage and you did not, he is liable for the mortgage, not you. The divorce has nothing to do with liability for the mortgage. So, it is true that so far as the mortgage company is concerned, you would owe nothing regardless of whether or not you stayed there. But if you stayed there, then your ex may have a viable argument that you should pay the expenses. Unless a judge specifically orders that you be given possession of the house, and that your ex must pay the mortgage, then you would not have been entitled to live there for free. Your ex could have taken this matter back to court and asked the judge to either force you to leave, or force you to pay the mortgage that is in his name. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that it was probably for the best that you moved out.

Q: From what I read, he could actually transfer the property to me and they could not touch me because I'm not his spouse.
A: No, I'm sorry to say that's not accurate. First, the mortgage company must be paid or they'll foreclose. Second, even if the mortgage is paid, it's possible that creditors have a right to go after the equity in the house (this depends on the dollar amount of equity). The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that it's just not possible to get the house for free. Unfortunately, the divorce cannot change that, and neither can the bankruptcy.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. I do ask that you rate me based upon whether I answered your question, and not based upon whether the answer was good news or bad news. Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To TJ, Esq." in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

But what about the equity in the home? Since the divorce decree said the house was to be sold & any profits from the sale of the property were to be split fairly 50/50. He didnt even try to sell the home. He told me he was just letting it go into foreclosure & basically scared me out of the house. He departed from the home on his own accord on Feb 15th & the last payment was made in Jan. He was & is still responsible for all costsI made to keep up on uutilities & everything until our divorce was final on March 27. It took me forever to start getting my alimony & the little $890 in SSI I receive monthly was not even enough to pay our $930mortgage Iinstallment. I intended on using my QDRO which was $105k to make a deal w/the bank but I didn't even receive that until the end of July. There has to be something I can do. He went against ourdivorce decree, which was legal, binding & court ordered...

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Hello again.

There is something you can do about your ex ignoring the divorce decree. You can file a motion in court asking that your ex be compelled to adhere to the court's order, and that your ex be held in contempt for ignoring it. You can also request monetary damages for allowing the house to be foreclosed on, which has devalued the property, and will likely result in all equity being lost. If the judge agree with you, then he may order your ex to pay you compensation for the lost equity, and he may fine your ex. I've even seen people jailed for ignoring court orders (it's rare, but it happens). The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that you need to bring this back to the judge who made the order, because that judge will be the person to hold your ex responsible for ignoring the order.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thank you TJ. You have been very helpful and informative. Looks like I need to get busy. Should I go to the hearing notice regarding his Chapter 7 Bankruptcy hearing & request a continuation based on my divorce decree or does that even matter at this point. I also read that they could also do a stay.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
You're quite welcome! :)

If the bankruptcy hearing you're referring to is the Meeting of Creditors (341 Hearing), then I would not bother. I doubt you'll get anything out of that since it's just an opportunity for the trustee to ask a few questions about why he's filing for bankruptcy. I doubt the answer will be of any help to you.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 9695
Experience: Licensed to Practice Law
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