Can I file bankruptcy on our mortgage without my wife being affected? 12 Answers as of May 25, 2011

My wife and I are estranged. We both are listed on the mortgages, but I am in far more than she in debt. Is it possible to file bankruptcy without her doing so with my bankruptcy freeing her from the debt? Could I in turn file a chapter 7 and she files a chapter 13 so that she may keep the house and stripping the second mortgage away as it has negative equity?

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California's Largest Family of Attorneys
California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
You should both probably file bankruptcy. Contact us so we can answer any questions you may have.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Spouses can file separate bankruptcies but without her filing for relief, your bankruptcy would not affect her liabilities.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 5/24/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
Filing for bankruptcy by one spouse will not relieve the non-filing spouse from the mortgage debt. Although one spouse can file bankruptcy without the other spouse joining, if she is listed on the mortgages she still owes them. Your bankruptcy will not free her of the debt. You may file a chapter 7, but your spouse could not strip the junior lien in a chapter 13 because you are both on the second mortgage. This may be complicated enough to justify seeking advice from an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
Saedi Law Group
Saedi Law Group | Lorena Saedi
If your wife wishes to retain the property and you do not you can file a Chapter 7 to wipe out your obligation on the debt. Your wife in turn can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and if "lien stripping" is a common practice in her district you she can apply for a lien strip. If you and your wife are co-signers on any debt you can discharge your liability but her liability will remain. If she files a Chapter 13 case those creditors can seek the ensure balance from her. Of course if she is in a 0% repayment plan to unsecured debt that really is not an issue.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/24/2011
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
Your wife will be affected. Your strategy may work, and it will be easier if you both choose the same attorney to handle both cases, so they know what's going on in both cases.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A.
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A. | Robert S. Cohen
    Yes, you can file separately with separate households. When you file a Chapter 7 you discharge the note but not the mortgage. She would still be responsible on the note and mortgage if it is titled jointly.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    A person obligated on a debt is not relieved from that obligation if another person who is also obligated files bankruptcy. Each would have to file their own bankruptcy to be relieved of the debt. If she qualifies for a Chapter 13, she may be able to strip the second if the amount owed to the first is more than what the house is worth.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    The short answer to your question is yes - one of you can file Chapter 13 and the other 7 and strip the 2nd in the 13. There is also protection for a spouse against collecting for community debt. I would need to have a complete interview with you, however.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    Whether or not you can file a Chapter 7 depends on your joint income and the size of your family. Assuming you are in California, any debt that you have incurred during marriage, whether or not both your names are on it, is a community obligation, and either one of you can be held liable for all of it. If you file a Chapter 13, then you can strip an entirely underwater second.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    You do indeed have some options to deal with the house and your debt. However, you filing bankruptcy alone will not necessarily free her from joint debt unless you propose to pay 100% of the debt through a Chapter 13 plan. As far as stripping the second mortgage, this can also be accomplished in a Chapter 13 case as long as the balance on the first mortgage is higher than the value of the property. But keep in mind that the second mortgage is not stripped until the end of the case and after the provisions of the plan have been fully performed. I would suggest an in-depth consultation with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Yes, you can file a 7 and she can file a 13.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
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