Can I file for bankruptcy without affecting my husband? 22 Answers as of July 26, 2011

My husband and I have some assets (home, cars)that are all in his name. Taxes and finances are completely separate. My business has bottomed out and left me $140+K in debt, including outstanding IRS taxes from a previous year and numerous college loans. Prospects for future business are not looking good. Debt consolidation is a likely next step, but I have no income. Bankruptcy may be the only solution. I've been advised that I can go bankrupt without affecting his assets. Is that true?

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Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/26/2011
The Port Law Firm
The Port Law Firm | Edward Port
If you file a bankruptcy only your assets are reviewed as long as the assets where always in your name or there are no transfer issues. Seek Professional advice.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/25/2011
Bankruptcy Law Center
Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
Yes, you can file bankruptcy alone without your spouse. Your spouse's assets will not be involved in your bankruptcy unless you transferred those assets to him in the last 4 years (or if your income or assets were used to purchase those assets). Your spouse's income will affect your bankruptcy as the means test applies to family income, not just your income alone (this can indirectly affect your husband).
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/25/2011
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
Generally yes but there are many things to consider.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/25/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
California is a community property state, so if you have been married for awhile the "community" has made payments on "his" assets. When this happens you have a community property interest in those assets. You need to see a lawyer. There are ways to maximize the exemptions, so it may turn out you can file bankruptcy and keep all your assets. Most people do not lose a thing when they file.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/24/2011
    Dearbonn Law Offices
    Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
    Yes, you can file a bankruptcy separately without affecting your husband's assets so long as the assets were acquired in his name alone. i.e if he purchased a house via mortgage for instance, your filing a bankruptcy will not affect him if your name is not on the mortgage.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    You can file bankruptcy individually and only your assets and liabilities will be included in the bankruptcy estate. However, the amount of your husband's income will be a factor in determining under which chapter you must file. If he is a high earner, you may have trouble qualifying for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and may have to file under Chapter 13. This will impact him only to the extent that he may have to pay into your plan in order for you to discharge your debts.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Either spouse can file a bankruptcy. The separate property of the non-filing spouse is not part of the bankruptcy. However, the community property of both is part of the estate in bankruptcy. Before filing bankruptcy consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    Yes you can if the debts are all in your name and creditors don't contest that the debts were incurred for a famiy purpose. Remember that you cannot discharge student loans or or IRS except in limited circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton | Daniel Moulton
    As long as you didn't transfer assets to him in the last five years.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
    Any assets legally held by your husband should not be part of your bankruptcy estate if you file alone. However, they may be reacheable by the Trustee if you transfered them to your husband before bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    Spouses may file separately in your case since you say your finances are separated he should be fine.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    Yes absolutely.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Cartwright Law Firm
    Cartwright Law Firm | Andrea Cartwight
    You may be able to file bankruptcy without affecting your husband's assets. If the property has always been in his name and was not transferred to him by you within the last 6 years, then his assets would be protected. Generally, you are able to keep all your property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If it is determine that you have substantial equity in property which cannot be exempted through a Chapter 7, then you would have to look into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While a Chapter 7 will liquidate non-exempt assets, you are able to keep all property in a Chapter 13. A Chapter 13 is a form of reorganization where you are reorganizing your debt with a re-payment plan from 3-5 years.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Yes it is possible for one spouse to file and not effect the credit of the other. You need to examine the ownership of the assets and how the debt is held. If you could like to go through this contact us or a Florida bankruptcy lawyer so you know what you are dealing with upfront.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Yes, if the assets are in his name alone and you do not live in a community property state, then your bankruptcy will have little implication for him.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Advanced Litigation Services
    Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
    Yes. You can file married filing separately, and it will not affect your husband.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Yes. If you are married in California you have a community interest in your husband's property. What you need to do is sit down with an attorney and see if all your assets can be exempted. Many people are surprised to find that they can keep all their valuable property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC | Melinda Murphy Dionne
    It is not necessary to file bankruptcy with your spouse. If you do not own an interest in his assets, his assets do not become part of your bankruptcy case. A trustee only takes title to the things that you own an interest in at the time you file your case. Your school loans and taxes may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy. It is almost impossible to discharge student loans under current law. Only certain types of taxes are dischargeable. I would advise against a debt management plan. I have found that these plans rarely work, cost debtors a small fortune, and participants usually end up getting sued by one of their creditors who refused to participate in the program. Bankruptcy is a better option than a debt management plan both cost wise and in terms of rebuilding your credit.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    As long as you didn't give him any of those assets or the monies to buy them, his assets are likely safe. If you did give him any assets, or funds to buy assets, that answer changes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Yes, according to the facts as you state them. Forget debt consolidation- they're usually scams that take your money and pay none of your debts, subjecting you to lawsuits.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC | Amber Morgan Florio, Attorney at Law
    Yes, you may file a personal bankruptcy without your husband and take exemptions for your home and cars, etc. or, you may file a business bankruptcy, and your home and cars would be protected. However, you mentioned Student Loans, and these are non dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/23/2011
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