When you enter into a partnership with someone, it is important that you have trust with them. And at times, it can certainly be difficult to trust, as sometimes people may lie or hide their intentions for non-malicious reasons, in a way that may not be as hurtful as trust being broken in otherwise malicious ways.
When it comes to financials though, trust is super important. If trust is broken there, it can not only be hurtful but also be affecting you. One such area of finances that often comes up is the matter of bankruptcy.
Namely, whether a spouse can file bankruptcy without also telling their spouse about it. We will go down the reasons whether this is possible, and indeed, why they may desire to file bankruptcy without telling their spouse beforehand.
Can a spouse file bankruptcy without telling you?
Bankruptcy is a complicated process, to be sure, and becomes that much more complicated when it is not just one person being affected by that bankruptcy. The question of how the bankruptcy of one spouse in a relationship should be handled is not necessarily something that is the same for everyone. For example, different states may have different laws on certain aspects of the process that may affect how it is handled, and how you are affected by your spouse’s decision to file bankruptcy. So yes, it is indeed true that your spouse does not need to tell you about their intentions to file bankruptcy, although how much it impacts you is going to depend on a variety of things.
For one, which bankruptcy is your spouse planning to file for? Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are handled much differently and may have a different impact on you and your spouse’s future than the other. However, filing chapter 13 bankruptcy help individuals with regular and substantial income can repay part or all of their debts. The section allows them to come up with a repayment plan to make installments within a frame time of about three to five years Another factor you need to concern yourself with is the property laws of your state, so be sure to check up on them if you suspect or know that your spouse is planning to file bankruptcy.
Finally, what is your financial status like with your spouse? For instance, do you have a shared bank account that may be affected by the bankruptcy filing, or do you have joint ownership in any property? If so, this may impact you quite negatively, depending on how bad the situation is.
A big concern that you may have with your spouse is exactly why they were mumming about the decision to file bankruptcy. After all, if there is trust in the relationship, the spouse would have no reason to hide their plans from you. There are a variety of reasons why someone may file bankruptcy in a sneaky way, one of the most common beings that the spouse has been poor with their financials and was not being open with their partner about this fact, and in turn, are concerned with letting you in on the truth of the situation.
Another scenario is a lack of trust, worrying about what you may do or say if you learned of their intention to file bankruptcy, or even if you learned of the reason why they had to file bankruptcy in the first place. Some situations may involve the spouse not telling because your financials and property are not going to be affected due to a lack of joint ownership of property or a lack of a shared bank account, although it still may feel like a stab in the back that they did not trust you enough to inform you of something that, while not impacting their financials directly, affects your relationship negatively. If you do have joint ownership of property or savings, it will certainly hurt you in a variety of ways that they chose to not tell you about something that will hurt you.
One of the major aspects of what happens to shared property and financials is whether you live in a common-law property state or a community property state. In the former, your joint ownership considered to be included in the bankruptcy estate, regardless of whether it is you that is filing for bankruptcy.
Any property owned by only you should be safe from being affected by the bankruptcy filing. In the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the trustee may sell the entirety of any shared property should you be unable to successfully exempt it from including, at least your portion anyway, although in this case, if a property cannot be divided, your portion of the ownership will be paid back to you.
Meanwhile, in a community property state, any property that you and your spouse have obtained during the relationship (and before in the case of the spouse) is considered eligible for the bankruptcy estate. This is an obvious sting, given your inability to prepare for the impact of such a decision by your spouse, especially if they choose not to involve you in the situation, to begin with. Whether the trust issue is the fault of you, your spouse, an independent factor, or all of the above, getting help from an attorney at Adam Law Group can do a world of good to help you out of this mess, and hopefully reestablish trust in your relationship if possible.
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