effect on spouse?

Discussion in 'Bankruptcy' started by cj, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. cj

    cj Guest

    I think I need to file. I cannot live and pay 30% on my credit card
    balances. My husband has been laid off for 20 months. These are cards
    in my name only. How will this effect my husband? Is he 'claiming
    bankruptcy' too"?
    cj, Sep 8, 2010
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  2. First, are you in the United States? Let's assume so. Also know that I
    am not a lawyer and am not offering legal advice.

    Filing may well make sense. Your husband doesn't have to claim
    bankruptcy too, though it can simplify things if he does. Is his credit
    good? Factors to consider include,

    - How are assets divided? Are there joint-owned things you don't want to
    lose, or can't afford to pay for your 'half' of?
    - Exemptions (how much of your stuff you get to keep) sometimes doubles
    if the spouse files too.
    - Debts that you incurred while married, both spouses will often be
    liable for: if you file, they might still come after him. It's a
    tricky area I don't know much about.

    Can you give us an idea of how much you have in assets (and what
    expensive things you're desperate to keep), how much income you have,
    how much debt you have, and which state you live in? That might make
    things clearer.

    In the US consumers typically file chapter 7 or chapter 13. Seeing as
    you mention credit cards, I assume your debt is mostly personal
    unsecured consumer stuff? Very simply, chapter 7 lets you get rid of
    debt (excepting most student loans, taxes, etc.) while getting rid of
    much of your stuff, chapter 13 tends to be more appropriate if you want
    to keep more and are willing to pay back an affordable fraction of what
    you owe.

    If you anticipate some further large debts soon (someone with bad
    insurance has surgery scheduled or something) you may want to hold off
    for a while first.

    Are you current with your credit cards at the moment? There aren't any
    judgments or liens against you?

    Basically, feel free to share a lot more if you don't mind, and maybe I
    can make some relevant comments.

    I /will/ give one piece of advice, though: if you're going to use a
    lawyer, talk to a few of them. The cheapest aren't always the best, some
    are full of error and inattention and not getting you the best deal in
    the case that you could. For instance, many people have successfully
    filed chapter 7 after being told by lawyers they had to do 13. Word of
    mouth is probably a good way to find the better ones, but certainly talk
    to a few in free face-to-face consultations and don't pay a retainer to
    any you have reservations about.

    Also, start getting your paperwork together -- for instance, most recent
    statement from everybody you owe money to. Whether or not you file, you
    should probably have all this stuff straight anyway.

    Mark T. B. Carroll, Sep 8, 2010
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  3. cj

    TlYk Guest

    Even so, did you authorize him to use and did he use these
    credit cards to purchase goods or services and, if to any extent for
    goods, when in what approximate purchase prices?
    This is not only one and instead at least two questions.

    If you live with your husband and the two of you have been
    sharing the benefits of the use of things either or both or you
    purchase outright or on credit while one or the other or both of you
    use some portion of your respective incomes to pay debts, then your
    obtaining relief from your debt burden by some combination of a
    reduction in part of your principal indebtedness or reduction of the
    amount of aggregate periodic payments will have some effect on your

    If you here ask instead only whether, generally speaking,
    debts legally married spouse1 incurs only in his or own name are
    treated as if debts of spouse2, then No generally is the answer in the
    US, depending on in what state the spouses reside.
    Not if he does not petition for bankruptcy relief too.

    In other words, you seeking Ch. 7 or Ch. 11 or Ch. 13 relief
    will not amount to him claiming bankruptcy too if he, too, does not
    also petition in his own name separately or jointly with you as
    husband and wife.

    But there is not anyone who knows about your and your
    husband's assets, liabilities, incomes and state of residence only
    what you say above who can suggest intelligently whether it would or
    would not be a good idea for him to seek bankruptcy relief or even
    whether it would be lawful for him to do so or, for that matter,
    whether or not it would probably make good sense for you to seek
    relief in bankruptcy and, even if so, in what ways and when you should
    do so.

    You do not actually post facts that adequately explain why you
    think you need to file in bankruptcy compared with other maybe less
    complex and also less onerous alternatives for you. For instance, if
    it would be accurate to interpret your posting as you saying correctly
    that the debt load in question is entirely yours and that there are
    not assets that belong to your husband in whole or in part in which a
    creditor of yours has a perfected security interest or which
    realistically could be reached by a judgment creditor of yours if you
    were to default in paying some or all your debts if you were sued and
    a judgment obtained only against you, then it might be desirable for
    you to try also to estimate the probably realistic answers for you to
    these questions -
    Might a sensible alternative for you be that you stop using
    all the credit cards in question and also stop paying the bills the
    credit providers send you?
    Even if the lenders/creditors were then to sue you and be
    granted judgments, So what? Realistically speaking for the reasonably
    foreseeable future, how, if at all, would any such judgments be worth
    more than merely the paper on which they were printed?
    And if you do not want to try just to walk away entirely, even
    if that may be a sensible alternative, and if the credit card debt and
    other debts in question arise from your use of only one or two or some
    other small number of credit accounts and not from a practically
    unmanageable large number of such accounts, would your opting for this
    stop using and stop paying alternative provide a basis for you that
    you do not now credibly have to negotiate and obtain agreements in
    writing signed by each of your creditors, or at least by those you
    care most about, for a maybe substantial reduction of your principal
    indebtedness and also of the amounts of payments you would then become
    obliged but also permitted by a written settlement to make without
    fear of default?
    TlYk, Sep 10, 2010
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