If one partner has too much debt during a marriage, that person should consider bankruptcy. Joint debts will remain with the non-filing spouse but, in community property jurisdictions, single bankruptcy for joint debts may carry certain advantages. Read further to learn how a bankruptcy attorney in Waukesha WI area, can help one spouse protect the other during filing.
Does One Spouse’s Bankruptcy Affect the Other Spouse’s Property or Credit?
Generally, one spouse’s bankruptcy does not affect the other spouse’s finances and credit rating. Debts are created through a contract between a creditor and a debtor, and one must sign a contract to be held liable. Therefore, one person’s bankruptcy does not affect the other person in a similar manner.
Does a Single Bankruptcy Change a Joint Debt’s Nature?
In Chapter 7, when one person’s debts are eliminated, creditors may pursue the other spouse. However, in Chapter 13 repayment plans, the creditor must not pursue the other debtor as long as plan payments are made on time.
While one person’s bankruptcy doesn’t generally affect the other partner, there are exceptions. For instance, one person’s bankruptcy may appear on the other spouse’s credit report if the debt is jointly held. Moreover, when applying for joint loans, one spouse’s past bankruptcy can affect the couple’s overall creditworthiness.
Joint property is another notable exception. In normal bankruptcies, much of a person’s non-exempt assets are seized by creditors. If such property is held jointly, it can be taken, and this rule is very important in community property jurisdictions. Conversely, property acquired by the other spouse after the filing cannot be taken.
Can a Person File Without the Other Spouse’s Knowledge?
Theoretically, a person can file for bankruptcy without the other person’s knowledge. However, Chapter 7 uses income to determine a person’s eligibility, and the other spouse will notice if their paychecks are being garnished. Hiding a bankruptcy is, at best, a temporary solution, and it can be detrimental to a marriage.
Does a Spouse Need a Lawyer?
If a person is going through bankruptcy, they should consult an attorney. A Bankruptcy Attorney in Waukesha WI, can advise a client as to the benefits of filing, and they can tell the client which chapter suits their needs. Additionally, the lawyer can tell the client whether their spouse will be affected by the filing.