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CA Lawyer
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Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Experience:  Bankruptcy Attorney
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hi

Customer Question

hi
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  NYCLAWYER replied 6 years ago.
what is your question?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hello,

If I get married during a Chapter 7 filing will my fiance (who would become my wife during the proceeding) be involved in any way?

All debt is in my name only and was incurred prior to being married. (Mostly business debt that I had personally guaranteed (over $150K) from a failed business)
We have no joint assets.
We do not share any bank accounts.
We do not have any joint debts/accounts.
We live separately and reside in NY and will not move in together until July 09.
We will be neither applying for a loan nor combining any accounts in the near future.

Will they look at "total household income" if I get married during the proceeding?
Will they ask to see her financials or for her to disclose her assets?

Yes, I know this may be an issue if we want to take any loans afterwards. But I'm more concerned about her not having to get involved in the proceeding itself in anyway.

Thanks!
Expert:  NYCLAWYER replied 6 years ago.
Your questions belong in the bankruptcy category. I will recommend it be moved there where another expert in that field will assist you further.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the quick response!
Expert:  NYCLAWYER replied 6 years ago.
You welcome. It may take a few minutes for your question to move and then a bit longer for an expert in the category to take on the questions.
Expert:  CA Lawyer replied 6 years ago.
Typically no, your new spouse would have no involvement in the bankruptcy.

Conceivably, however, the trustee or U.S. Trustee could ask about the spouse's income and, if your bankruptcy was audited which doesn't happen that often, they may ask for some of her financial records to verify the information you put in the schedules.

If you actually live in separate households, however, this is extremely unlikely. Typically, also, the information you put in the bankruptcy forms is as of the date of filing.

If this information was helpful, please click ACCEPT to give me credit for answering. Bonuses and positive feedback are appreciated if deserved. If you need any clarification, just post a reply. Thanks!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for the quick answer. If an audit is done would it be during the proceeding or afterward?

Also, hypothetically, lets say I don't file bankruptcy and we get married can they go after her assets keeping in mind the above factors: no joint assets, she didn't sign "on the dotted line" for anything, all debts were incurred previous to getting married etc...

I noticed your from California but I'm assuming your providing info based on NYS Bankruptcy code/law?

Thanks and thats probably my final question.
Expert:  CA Lawyer replied 6 years ago.
It would be during the proceeding. Typically, they would notify you within a short time of the filing (ie. 30 days or less).

Bankruptcy law is Federal. It is Title 11 of the U.S. Code. The only real state law issues in bankruptcy are exemptions and a couple of otherissues where state law rights are involved (in these issues it is usually where the bankruptcy court says, "ok, you can fight this out in state court").

I went to law school at Hofstra, so I am familiar with NY law as well.

As far as going after her assets given the facts you've described, she wouldnt' be liable for any of your debts.

Now, taking that into account, it doesn't necessarily mean that they wouldn't name her as a defendant in a lawsuit against you. It simply means that she would have a valid defense to the lawsuit if they did name her. Sometimes creditors do this anyways and can get away with it if she doesn't defend the lawsuit.


Now, if you file a Chapter 7, you can't reverse the filing. I don't know if you filed yet, but judges will typically only let you dismiss a chapter 7 if you pay all of your debt in full.

The bankruptcy forms have specific exclusions for household income where you are married, not filing jointly, and live in separate households. You sign a "declaration of separate households" when you file.

If you make a lot of money, then you are more likely to get your bankruptcy audited.

All in all, it is pretty unlikely that she would be dragged into the bankruptcy.


If this information was helpful, please click ACCEPT to give me credit for answering. Bonuses and positive feedback are appreciated if deserved. If you need any clarification, just post a reply. Thanks!

CA Lawyer, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 1655
Experience: Bankruptcy Attorney
CA Lawyer and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you I accept :) Does it look fishy if I file and get married a week or two later? Is that gonna be an issue?
Expert:  CA Lawyer replied 6 years ago.
I don't think it looks fishy at all.

Realistically, the things a trustee is going to look for are transfers and things done within a year or two before you file. Those are much more important. Its actually common for people to file before they get married or while they are getting divorced, and there are good reasons for doing so.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Nah, no transfers done, i have no assets, live with my parents and the 95% of the debt is from a failed business... Thanks! we'll get married during the priceeding then :)

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