Will my wife get affected if I file for bankruptcy? 29 Answers as of June 20, 2012

She has some debt and assets prior to our marriage, but I don't want my bankruptcy file to affect those. Is that possible?

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Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
Either spouse can file their own petition. The non-filer is not generally liable. There are exceptions, for instance if there is non-exempt equity in community property assets. Separate property of the non-filer does not come into the bankruptcy. Also, debts that are co-signed can be pursued against the non-filer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2012
Ferguson & Ferguson
Ferguson & Ferguson | Jackie Ferguson Graham
She won't be affected unless you have joint debts with her or you share joint property.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/15/2012
Selleck Legal, PLLC
Selleck Legal, PLLC | Stacey Selleck
You can file bankruptcy as married but filing as an individual. Therefore, the only information that is needed from your spouse is the income amount to calculate the household income. The spouse's name will appear no where on the bankruptcy nor will it affect his or her credit. However, you will only be able to discharge debts that are in your name. If you have a joint debt in both of your names your spouse will still be liable for that debt.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/15/2012
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
California is a community property state. If you have been married for awhile and if the "community" has been making payments on those assets, the community gains an interest in them. You need to see a lawyer before you do anything.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2012
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
You may file a separate bankruptcy petition, but that may not be the best action to take for both you and your spouse. The Bankruptcy Court's filing fee is the same whether you file a joint petition or a separate petition. Both husband and wife should file jointly if one or more substantial dischargeable debts are owed by both spouses. If both spouses are liable for a substantial debt and only one spouse files under chapter 7, the creditor may later attempt to collect the debt from the nonfiling spouse, even if he or she has no income or assets. Additionally, if your spouse has substantial debt it would probably make sense to get rid of both of your debts in a joint bankruptcy filing. This information is general in nature and should not be construed to constitute specific legal advice nor to create an attorney/client relationship. You should meet with an experienced attorney who helps people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code for specific advice. A qualified attorney can review your particular financial circumstances and make a recommendation on how to proceed. There should be no charge for the initial consultation with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2012
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc.
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc. | Tony Yuthas
    Separate or joint debt will leave her liable. Assets need to be reported as joint.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    If you file for bankruptcy in California and you are married all "Community Property" is subject to your bankruptcy estate. If your wife has assets which are separate property then this property must be disclosed but is not part of your bankruptcy estate and is therefore not within the reach of the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If assets are in her name only, then it is her asset not yours and she should be fine or it may be exempt anyway.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    Yes if they are joint.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    I am not sure what you mean by "affected". If you live in a community property state than all debts incurred while married and all assets purchased while married will be part of your bankruptcy. Normally, the non-filing spouse's assets acquired prior to marriage are not included in the filing spouse's bankruptcy. But if is very important that you talk to a good bankruptcy attorney in the state where you live. Please understand that bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your state before deciding to take this important step. If you live in Arizona, then you will find that most Arizona bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation about the basics of bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    It is not required that you and your wife file bankruptcy together. Your bankruptcy should not affect her unless she is also liable for the debts.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Yes, it is not her bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    None of your wife's assets or liabilities will be affected by your bankruptcy. However, note that all assets that are jointly held with your wife may be affected.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    You can file on your own. Her income will count towards the household expenses, but you can subtract out the bills that are just hers.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Weber & Phillips, P.A.
    Weber & Phillips, P.A. | John G. Phillips
    Because laws can vary State to State, you really need to consult with a local attorney to get an accurate assessment of where your wife would fit into your case.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Generally yes. You need to consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Your wife's credit is probably affected by yours. It is best to get rid of all the debt that you can get rid of when filing bankruptcy. There are limited circumstances, because of the changes made to the bankruptcy laws in 2005, where you do not have to list your wife's assets and income. You cannot control every aspect of a bankruptcy filing. Certain federal laws come into effect, and you have to follow them. What specifically do you mean when you say you don't want your bankruptcy filing to affect your wife's debt and assets? You should be filing a joint petition with her.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If she has separate property assets that are not community assets and she does not file, those assets will not be affected.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    One spouse can file without affecting the other.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Law Offices of Diann C. Moseley | Diann Moseley
    All creditors must be included in your bankruptcy; however, not all debts will be discharged. Student loans are not dischargeable and certain years of income taxes. Further, if your intention is to keep a house or vehicle, the mortgage or vehicle loan will not be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Saedi Law Group
    Saedi Law Group | Lorena Saedi
    If you wife does not have any joint debts or assets with you then she should not be affect by your bankruptcy. If you decide to file always make sure to disclose if you and your spouse have any joint bank accounts as a filing could affects these assets if you also have other debts with the bank.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Yes, however she will still be responsible for any joint debts. I suggest you consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss the details of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Barbara Fontaine, Esquire | Barbara Fontaine
    Your wife is not responsible for your debts.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If prior to marriage and separate property, you can file and it should not affect her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm | Tara D. Newberry
    One spouse can file for bankruptcy, however, with regard to income and assets there will be some involvement of the non-filing spouse in the bankruptcy case regardless of which chapter is utilized. The non-filing spouse's income in most cases must be factored into the means test which shows eligibility to file under Chapter 7 or determines the plan payment in a Chapter 13. The non-filing spouse's assets must be scheduled and disclosed and if non-exempt could be an issue with regard to the bankruptcy estate's interest. The issue of a non-filing spouse can be complicated, and a variety of other financial factors are needed to give advice on what effect the bankruptcy could have on the non-filing spouse. I recommend consultation with a qualified bankruptcy attorney as this is not a simple question to answer and a consultation would be necessary to evaluate any impact the bankruptcy would have on your wife.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    Your bankruptcy filing will discharge you from the payment of your debts, which includes both premarital debts and those incurred since you got married. If your wife does not file with you jointly, your wife's debts will be unaffected. If you have joint debts, you will be discharged but she will not. Any assets you own, even if you own them jointly with your wife, must be considered. Both your income and her income must be considered, unless you have separated and are heading for divorce. Only your wife's property from before marriage need not be disclosed or considered in your filing. Filing by yourself is often the best way to do this when you are recently married, but not always. Check with a bankruptcy attorney to make sure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Debt Relief Law Center | Roger J. Bus
    If she does not file bankruptcy, then her individual debt would not be listed in the case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Maybe. A good attorney will make sure your wife has no or minimal effect.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    If you have debts for which she is also liable she will have to pay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
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