If my wife and I have been legally separated for over 3 years, how will her filing for bankruptcy affect me?

She has filed bankruptcy. She told me that the land I bought prior to marrying her 21 years ago can be taken by the court to pay her debts owed because I added her name to the deed after we were married. The land was paid off 8 years ago. If this is true what action can I take to prevent this from happening?

Asked on November 8, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


Terence Fenelon / Law Offices of Terence Fenelon

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Are you realy legally seperated? Do you have a judgment of legal seperation issued by the Court? That's the first question I raise.

If so, a bankruptcy trustee can attach and sell proerty in the name of the debtor to be applied towards the debts incurred by the individual filer. 

Since you don't state how the property is held, I can't comment on the likelihood of the trustee's success in bringing an action to liquidate (sell) the property.  As a party in interest, you have specific legal rights which ougtht to be protected. I would advise you to seek competent bankruptcy counsel ( not marital law, although that may come later) to represent your interests. Good luck.  Minimally, you are entitled to your share of the value of the property upon its sale.

Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

In Texas, it would be odd that the land issue wasn't dealt with in the divorce. Generally speaking, if the land is paid for during the marriage, a pro rata portion of it would become part of the community property. If there's been a divorce with a division of property, you might be in good position if the land was awarded to you. But without a division of property that land is going to be owned by both of you.

Even in a state like Illinois, where I am also licensed, "non-marital" property can become "marital" property when it is paid for during the marriage.

This is a complex issue and you need an attorney to help you determine and defend your rights in your jurisdiction.

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