Will my wifes credit be affected by me filing for Chapter 13 if she makes more than I do?

I talked to a lawyer but wouldn’t they really divulge any info unless I paid them first. Is my wife really responsible for my debt that occured before we were married and 90% of it is business-related?

Asked on September 10, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your question really has two parts.  The first is the bankruptcy part-- the second is the debt liability part. 

For the bankruptcy part, the answer is yes, her credit could be affected by you filing Chapter 13 because you are currently married. Whether it's fair or not, once the two of you make a joint application for credit, then many creditors will mesh the two histories.  (for example, if the two of you purchase a car-- they will join and average out your histories).  If you can keep your applications and credit histories completely seperate, then it will have less of an impact.

With regard to the debt part of your question.  She is not liable for the debt that accrued before marriage.... however, if your money and her money became co-mingled in an account and a creditor later garnished that account, her funds could and would be at risk because of the co-mingling-- so she could accidentally end up paying part of the debt because the funds are not clearly traceable.

Her salary level really doesn't affect either answer-- what really controls is how you both maintain your credit history and assets.  Until you get through this patch, you should try to keep things divided so as to have a lesser impact on her history.


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