Am I responsible for my husband's debt? 20 Answers as of May 30, 2013

My husband is thinking of filing for bankruptcy. Will I still be responsible to pay his bills? Will our joint bank account be affected if he files for bankruptcy?

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Ipson Law Firm, PLLC
Ipson Law Firm, PLLC | Michael Ipson
If your husbands debts were used for the maintenance of the family then there is some possibility that the creditors could come after you for some of the debt. In most cases it is all apportioned to him. Your joint bank account will be affected the trustee might try and take all of it and you would have to fight about their right to do so. I would open another account and put in it money that you have earned. Do not simply drain the joint account leave in any portion he has contributed to.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 3/8/2012
Joseph Lehn, Esq
Joseph Lehn, Esq | Lehn Law, PA
If you have joint debt and your husband files bankruptcy, you will continue to owe that debt. If the debt was soley in your husband name, it will be discharged and you will not be responsable. Your joint bank account will be listed an asset on the petition. However, your 50% of the balance will not be part of the bankruptcy estate.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/6/2012
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Here in WA, we are a community property state so all debts incurred by a spouse is considered a community debt. If he files and you don't, the creditor has no other choice but to go after you. Contact a local attorney for specifics.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/5/2012
Debt Relief Law Center | Roger J. Bus
You are only responsible for bills in your name or jointly held in your name. Your joint bank account should not be affected as long as the amount in it is low enough to be exempt in his Chapter 7- see 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(5). Usually accounts in the hundreds of dollars (sometimes higher) are exempt depending on how many other unsecured "toys" he owns.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/5/2012
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
California is a community property state. If you have assets you need to check with a lawyer before he files. If it is just a matter of credit card debt in his name only (and you did not sign to responsible for the debts), they can not come after you. (Well, technically you are responsible for his "necessities of life" - but in 25 years I have never seen a creditor press this issue).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/2/2012
    J.M. Cook, P.A. | J.M. Cook
    You will not be responsible for his debt but you will be responsible for any joint debt.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    California is a community property state. This means that the community property is liable for debts of either spouse. Some creditors will pursue the assets but must first obtain a judgment against the non-filer. The bankruptcy prohibits collection against the filer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Jackie Ferguson Graham
    You will not be liable for your husband's debt unless the debt is joint. However your husband will have to list your joint bank account as an asset in his bankruptcy. Unless there is alot of money in the account you shouldn't risk losing any of the money in the account.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Marriage alone does not make you liable for his debt. Your signature does. A joint bank account can be seized if it is not properly disclosed & exempted.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    Yes you are technically responsible for his bills. However, if they are not in your name the creditors will not pursue you. The bigger issue is what assets do you own that are community (acquired during marriage) that you may lose through liquidation.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
    You will not be responsible for his debt if you are not liable now. So long as the money in the joint account is exempted properly, that account will be unaffected.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    If you co-signed any debts with your husband, if he files a Chapter 7 case, the creditors could look to you for payment of the debts.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If both of you are on the debts, then yes you are both liable. Any joint account you have, you are also liable on the debt. So, if he files the creditors will come after you. All assets come into play when he files for bankruptcy. Thus, if you have joint accounts the court can look at all of the money in those accounts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Law offices of John P. Brooke | John Brooke
    You will only be liable to pay his debts if you are a co-debtor on his debts. That means you would have had to sign for the debts and be responsible to pay them. Your bank account should not be affected as long as the cash is exempt and the account is not with a credit union and you are looking to discharge a debt from that credit union also.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You are only liable if you have joint debt together. As far as the bank accounts, you are exempt for some of it and it is considered half yours and half his.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    No.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Law Office of David P. Farrell
    Law Office of David P. Farrell | David Farrell
    In California, generally speaking, community property is subject to satisfy claims of either spouse's creditors. Community property is loosely defined as property, or debt, aquired during marriage. This includes earnings and future income. If your husband goes out and buys $5,000 worth of golf clubs, he is both separately liable, and the entire community property is liable for repayment of the debt. If he files bankruptcy alone, he is obligated to list all of the community assets and debts in the petition, and to the extent there is any non-exempt equity in community property it may be sold by the bankruptcy trustee to pay your creditors. Accordingly, your interest in the community property may be affected by his bankruptcy filing. Community property in bankruptcy is complex.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You're entitled to half of the funds in your joint accounts, so in his petition he will only have to declare half. You won't be responsible for his debts unless they're either joint or you're his guarantor.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    California is a community property state, so if you are on the debts - Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/1/2012
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