Handling Tax Debt If Not Addressed In Divorce Decree

Omaha Nebraska Divorce LawyerQuestion:

My ex-husband and I filed a joint tax return in 2010 while still married and we owed a lot of money. We divorced in 2011.

How would we handle the 2010 tax expense debt if it was not addressed in the divorce decree? My ex-husband says I owe him half the debt but I cannot afford it.


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Nebraska divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Based on the limited set of facts you have presented, your divorce decree did not include or failed to include a provision dealing with the specified debt of your taxes from 2010, which were prior to your dissolution.

If this was contemplated, but just failed to be included, divorce lawyers would normally file a Motion for an Order Nunc Pro Tunc. These orders are meant to fix scribner errors, or the failure to just include something ordered at trial but was inadvertently left off. Based on the facts you gave, this does not appear to be the correct answer.

The next option is for one of you to file an Application to Modify, based on the parties not addressing the issue of the taxes. This application would determine what the allocation of any debts not contemplated during the divorce which have now come to light and the allocation of the debts between the parties.

However, it appears you knew of the debt during the time of the divorce, so this again may not be an option for you. This could result in a 50/50 split or some other allocation based on the financial circumstances of the parties and would then allocate debts neither of you knew about at the time of the original decree.

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Tax Tips For Divorced Dads

Now, if you did know about the debt, but did not include it in the decree, the last option is a civil claim. Your ex-husband can bring a civil claim against you for the debt that was a joint and several liability (being that they can collect from one or both of you, the IRS’s choice).

Your ex-husband can sue you and then attempt to collect the same through garnishments, executions (seizing and selling property and/or bank accounts) or selling the debt to a collection agency.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Omaha, Nebraska Divorce Lawyer Jamie Kinkaid, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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