How does a bankruptcy file affect a joint account? 19 Answers as of August 10, 2011

My wife wants to file for a single bankruptcy, but the problem is that we share a bank account. Will this account be frozen when she tries to file for bankruptcy? How will this affect my credit score?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
You're not filing bk, so your credit won't take a hit.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/10/2011
Mankus & Marchan, LTD
Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
It's possible that 1/2 of the joint bank account may become property of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy estate, unless your wife claims an allowable exemption against it. As a practical matter, you may want to open a separate bank account in your name alone. That would keep it from getting tangled up with your wife's bankruptcy estate. Her separate bankruptcy should have no affect on your credit score.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/6/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
If one spouse files for bankruptcy it is possible that a joint bank account will be frozen. The non-filer will not have a negative credit report for the spouse's bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
The Law Office of Jacqui Snyder
The Law Office of Jacqui Snyder | Jacqui Snyder
If it is just a bank account with no line of credit or loan attached to it, it should not affect you in any way. Regular checking accounts are not generally frozen or even notified during a bankruptcy proceeding. If you are concerned, one of you can be removed from the account prior to her filing.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/5/2011
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
Joint accounts are not a good thing in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Not so bad in a Chapter 13. If your name is on a joint account and there is only a nominal amount of money in it, I would close the account to make sure my name is no longer on the account before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Of course, you must report the closed account in the appropriate place on your petition. If the account has substantial money in it, you will need to consult with an attorney and get specific advice for your situation before filing. This can be a big problem. Do not even think of not reporting the account. That can cost you your discharge and even jail time. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    No. Not unless it's with a credit union and she owes them money. If you have a house, and there are any joint debts at all, the trustee can sell the house. If there are joint debts you'll be solely liable. Once bankruptcy is filed no one can do anything without court permission. Has no effect on your credit score. Check it after her discharge and made sure it's right, though, and if not make them fix it.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    The account will only be frozen if it is with Wells Fargo and the total of all Wells Fargo accounts exceed $5,000.00. The freeze is temporary.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    The account is not frozen. Your wife will have to use an exemption to protect her portion of the account. The Bankruptcy should not affect your credit score unless you are an authorized user on one of the debts that is not being paid or otherwise guarantee the debts.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
    Not frozen but, should seek legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    You may need to get a separate account before she files. I am happy to discuss your options with you. Please call to schedule a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Whether or not the account would be frozen or the amount would be taken depends on any factors, can she exempt her half, is the account at a credit union, is there joint debt that is collateralized by the account? Your credit score would not be directly impacted, but if you have joint debt and she goes bankrupt on it, it makes it all yours, so it may lower your score because of the higher debt load. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC | Melinda Murphy Dionne
    Your wife would list as an asset in her case 1/2 of the money in the joint account at the time of filing. If your wife owes money to the bank where your account is located, you should move the money and open a new joint account prior to filing. You never want to have money on deposit at a bank to whom you owe money at the time of the filing of a bankruptcy case. Banks, by law, have a lien on your depository accounts to the extent you owe them money. Your wife should make sure that her name is not on any account at any bank to which she owes money. This is true even for accounts of family members where your wife may be on the account just in case something happens to the family member. I am not suggesting that she should transfer money that she actually is entitled to receive. Rather, her name should not be on accounts like those of a parent who may need assistance handling their financial affairs. If you are not liable for your wife's debts, her bankruptcy filing should have no impact on your credit score. You should monitor your credit report and make sure that creditors do not report her accounts on your report.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Lake Forest Bankruptcy
    Lake Forest Bankruptcy | Anerio V. Altman, Esq.
    It will not affect your credit score. It could affect your bank account if you have more money in the account than your wife can exempt or protect.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    it ultimately won't effect your credit score as long as you continue to pay the debt. If you are jointly liable for the debt you must pay it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    It depends on how the account is styled. Is it as husband and wife husband and wife or husband or wife?
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Your credit score is not affected unless you share debts. The joint account may or may not be a problem, and her lawyer should be advising her on what you can and cannot do with it. (If she plans to file pro se, talk her out of it).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If you live in Nevada we are a community property state and all assets come into the bankruptcy estate. Your wife can claim her exemptions to the extent allowed under Nevada law, but you cannot. I highly recommend you discuss this issue in detail with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/5/2011
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