My wife is in debt and can't pay but I own the house, what can I do? 16 Answers as of July 04, 2013

My wife is $100,000 in debt due to recent sickness, is currently unemployed and was diagnosed with terminal illness and won't be able to work anymore. I have been retired for 3 years now. I own the house we live in, can creditors come after the house?

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Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Your wife may be able to file a Chapter 7 to eliminate her debt. Since she is unable to work, she may qualify for a hardship discharge allowing her to discharge debt she would not ordinarily be able to.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/11/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
You can probably exempt the equity in the house but you should really talk to a local attorney who will be able to advise you specifically as to your current financial situation.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/4/2013
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
No. As long as you have no joint debts, and only you own the house, she can file bankruptcy and the house is safe in VA.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 7/11/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
If you own a home file a homestead in your name. This will protect equity up to a certain amount determined by state law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/11/2011
Robert Peters, P.A.
Robert Peters, P.A. | Robert L. Peters
Sir, I am sorry to hear about your wife. It sounds like your wife has creditors and you are concerned they may go after your house. As a general rule creditors cannot go after your homestead. You need to speak with a lawyer to confirm that your circumstances fall under the general rule.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/8/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Your wife should file Bankruptcy Chapter 7 for a clean slate. Did you sign her into the hospital? If so, you are contractually liable. In Tennessee there are cases that say you are liable for your wife's necessities.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 7/8/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    House in both names or asset of both, you are stuck and should also file bankruptcy with her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Sentinel Law P.A.
    Sentinel Law P.A. | Joshua Cossey
    Typically, the home is protected from creditor claims via Homestead protection. The exception to the rule are instances such a mortgages, mechanic/construction liens, and instances where the unsecured credit was used to pay a secured creditor. There may still be instances where you could use the bankruptcy to discharge the debts, and keep your home through reaffirmation. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of Sentinel Law, P.A., pursuant to an executed attorney-client agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without speaking to an attorney, as there may be details surrounding your situation that would give rise to further explanation or clarification.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    See a lawyer. California is a community property state, so she may have an interest in it. But.... You have a huge homestead exemption so it may not be an issue at all.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    Generally no. She may qualify to file a chapter 7 and discharge her debts. I am happy to discuss her options with you. Please call to schedule a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    Short answer: property titled solely in your name is safe from her creditors. Additionally, most states have a "homestead exemption" that protects some or al of your equity.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If house has equity will need to homestead it. The house is presumed community property subject to exceptions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    First, I'm very sorry to hear about your wife and your difficult situation. To answer your question, yes the creditors can get a judgment against her and put a lien against the house because the debt is a community debt and the house is, I'm assuming, a community property asset (unless you owned the house outright prior to marriage, in which case it MIGHT not be liable for the debt, but you'd need to discuss that with a family law or other attorney familiar with California community property laws).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Law Office of Eric Ridley
    Law Office of Eric Ridley | Eric Ridley
    I'm sorry to hear about your wife's illness. To answer your question: I assume you're asking if creditors can come after your house in bankruptcy? It depends on a number of factors, which you should go over with your bankruptcy attorney: how much equity is in your house, which choices you make with regard to your exemptions, and more. If you're asking about creditors attaching your house without a bankruptcy filing, that too, depends on how your house is titled, how the rest of your debt is structured, and more. These are questions with complicated answers, and your attorney will need more detail in order to give his or her opinion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    From what you write it would be very smart for both of you to sit down with a bankruptcy lawyer. Depending on the details, there may be ways to wipe out her debts AND keep your home. I'd need all your numbers but I suspect I'd end up being able to produce that outcome for you (the complete answer depends on detailed numbers and facts I don't have). It would be very smart to talk to an attorney soon and not wait for the problem to worsen.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/7/2011
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