effect on spouse?



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"?



Mark T. B. Carroll

cj said:
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"?
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.





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.
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?
How will this effect my husband?
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.
Is he 'claiming
bankruptcy' too"?
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?

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