Can you be held liable in a bankruptcy case if you and your spouse are living separately without a legal separation?

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2014

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Can you be held liable in a bankruptcy case if you and your spouse are living separately without a legal separation?

Asked on July 18, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you and your spouse have no joint accounts or joint assets, then their bankruptcy filing should not affect you. However, unless you are living apart and are legally separated, then your income and expenses (even though you are the non-filing spouse) is required so that the court, trustee and creditors can evaluate the household's income. This, however, in no way obligates you financially.

To the extent you have joint accounts or any joint assets not exempted by law, you will be affected by your spouse's filing. For example, if you file for bankruptcy in a community property state, any property owned jointly by you and your spouse may be included in the bankruptcy, regardless of whether or not you file.

At this point, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area for further advise. Once you go over the specific details of the case, the can best direct you on how to proceed.

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 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.

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