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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.