Bankruptcy didn’t release spouse from divorce obligation

A woman whose divorce decree required her to pay half of her ex-husband’s federal income taxes for the previous year couldn’t escape this obligation by filing for bankruptcy, the New Hampshire Supreme Court recently decided.

When the wife filed for bankruptcy, she listed her husband as a “creditor” in the amount of the $4,500 tax debt.

The husband sought to hold her in contempt of court when she failed to pay the debt. A judge initially decided that the bankruptcy cleared the wife, but the New Hampshire Supreme Court disagreed and said that under federal law, this type of debt couldn’t be avoided in bankruptcy.