If I got a subpoena in the mail, can I file bankruptcy without implicating my spouse? 18 Answers as of February 11, 2015

This is for a debt that I had before we got married. Is that possible? Once the bankruptcy is over, will my spouse assume my debt?

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Tokarska Law Center
Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
If you are the only one that is responsible for payment of the debt, the debt is of type that is dischargeable in Bankruptcy, and you receive a bankruptcy discharge the creditor cannot then go after your spouse. Having said that, this question is posted in CA and CA is a community property state. What that means among other things is that while you can file an individual bankruptcy without your spouse, all community property must be disclosed and will become part of the bankruptcy estate. In figuring out whether you qualify for chapter 7 discharge, your wife's income and your joint household living expenses will be considered. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney near you. They can help you decide if filing makes sense, whether you are eligible for discharge under chapter 7, whether all of the community property and your own separate property falls within exemptions so that, to put it plainly, you will keep your stuff and not have to pay the debt.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2015
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
No, he will not assume the debt if he was never a co signor on that debt.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/11/2015
The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC
The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC | Ryan Beach
You can file bankruptcy without your spouse. Only one spouse filing bankruptcy is very common. Your filing should not impact your spouse's credit; however, your filing may cause an issue with any debt that is held jointly and any unprotected ("unexempt") assets. As long as the debt is not joint or some other action was taken by your spouse to assume liability, your spouse will not be liable for your debts after you receive a discharge. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney will give you an idea if there are any issues. I highly recommend going with your spouse when you consult with an attorney. There may be circumstances where it makes sense for you to file with your spouse. Your filing will require you to provide proof of the total household income. You will have to provide copies of yours and your spouse's pay stubs (or other similar income statements) and tax returns, both of which involve your spouse's personal information. This information is used by the debtor's attorney and Trustee to determine such things as eligibility in Chapter 7, the plan payment in Chapter 13, and potential assets/disposable income related to tax refunds.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/11/2015
EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
The person filing bankruptcy only affects that person debts and no other person's debts.? If you marry your debt is still your debt alone and would not be a debt of your spouse.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 2/11/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
You probably meant "summons". No, he will not be responsible for the debt.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 2/10/2015
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Your spouse will not be affected by a debt you brought into the marriage unless she signed it too.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    If your spouse is not a co-debtor, your spouse is not responsible for the debt. So, yes, you could file alone and discharge the debt without implicating your spouse. You should meet with a bankruptcy attorney first to make sure all of your debts are community debts. You will also need assistance obtaining the proper waivers from your spouse so you can enjoy the full value of the allowed exemptions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    File without him. Tat is not a problem. He is not responsible for your premarital debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If you received a subpoena for a civil case you must file bk before your order to appear. If it is for a criminal case, the bk will not stay the order to appear. You may file bk without your spouse but I highly recommend you seek legal counsel to assist you in determining whether there are any negative aspects in doing so.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    A subpoena requires you to testify. Subpoenas are served on witnesses that aren't involved in the lawsuit. For example, if you're standing on a corner and see one car run the red light and hit a pedestrian - you would be a witness in the lawsuit of the pedestrian (plaintiff) against the driver (defendant). As a witness, you'd probably get a subpoena to testify - the plaintiff and defendant are parties to the lawsuit and wouldn't get subpoenas. Did you actually receive a "summons". A summons notifies the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against him/her and that he/she has to file an answer within a specific time. In any case, filing bankruptcy can't make your spouse liable on a separate debt of yours.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A.
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A. | Robert S. Cohen
    You can file an individual bankruptcy even though you are married. Also this is your debt as long as she is not a co-debtor on the loan, then she is not responsible for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Brooks Law Firm
    Brooks Law Firm | Ray Brooks
    Unfortunately, you cannot file without implicating your spouse. Your spouse's income will be looked at to determine what type of bankruptcy for which you qualify. It may also affect your debt and his as well as his ability to get credit. You have mentioned getting a "subpoena." A subpoena is a notice that you must appear somewhere and testify in a matter. If you have received a subpoena, filing bankruptcy will have no effect unless you are a party to the suit from which the subpoena is issued. So, did you receive a subpoena, or was it something else, like a summons and complaint?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    Yes you can file bankruptcy without your spouse. You should call a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your whole financial situation to see what the benefits and drawbacks would be.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    A subpoena is a legal document requiring you to appear and testify. Bankruptcy would not change a requirement for you to testify unless your testimony is part of an attempt to collect a debt. While bankruptcy may be an option for you, it is not appropriate in many instances and other options may be available. I am not aware of any state where the laws require a spouse to become legally responsible for debts made before the marriage unless there was an agreement with the creditor to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    John W. Lee, P.C.
    John W. Lee, P.C. | John W. Lee
    While it is possible to file a bankruptcy without your spouse, whether or not you should file as an individual is another question. To determine if a debtor should file bankruptcy married or single, the attorney must review both spouses' (1) income, (2) assets and (3) debt. If there are jointly held debts or assets, then filing a single bankruptcy may become problematic for the non-filing spouse. The non-filing spouse's income will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for bankruptcy. Your spouse may be liable for you debts after you file bankruptcy if your spouse co-signed on the debt, is jointly liable on the debt or if the debt is a debt of necessity, like a medical bill. Chances are, if the debt was incurred prior to the marriage and her name is not on it, then she will not be liable for it after you file bankruptcy. You should hire an experienced local attorney to help you make this important decision.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney, it is possible for you to file separately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    John W. Lee, PC
    John W. Lee, PC | Kim A. Lewis
    If it is not a joint debt with your spouse then he or she is not liable for it and the creditor can take no action against him or her. You can file bankruptcy without involving your spouse unless there are other joint debts.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC | Mark Cherry
    Your present spouse cannot be liable for premarital debts of yours unless the spouse consented, in writing. Whether you would be able to file bankruptcy requires a consultation with an attorney to determine whether the debt is dischargeable, which Chapter of Bankruptcy, 7, 11, or 13 would be appropriate. There are issues related to assets, liabilities, and income that may affect your ability to discharge the debt. Your marriage may affect the household income calculations in a bankruptcy situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/10/2015
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