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JoeLawyer
JoeLawyer, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
Experience:  Attorney in the practice of Bankruptcy Law since 1996
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I live in Pennsylvania and have a question about filing for

Customer Question

I live in Pennsylvania and have a question about filing for bankruptcy. I have credit card debt ($10,000), a personal loan(25,000), and enormous amount of student loans ($180,000+). I became disabled and was unable to finish school because of the disability. The credit cards and loans are only in my name, but I need to know if my claiming bankruptcy will affect my wife in any way. Can they go after her for the loans? I don’t have my name on any property and I was not earning an income while I was in school and I am not earning an income now. I have no idea how I could ever pay back my student loans since I will be unable to complete school and work in the profession I was being trained in. Thank you
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  JoeLawyer replied 7 years ago.
Hello.

Normally discharging credit cards and personal loans in bankruptcy is not a problem, as I'm sure you have already determined.

Student loans are another matter. They normally require to debtor to file a special lawsuit during the pendency of their bankruptcy case, called an Adversary Proceeding, to discharge them. The standard for discharge is that repayment of the student loans would cause an undue hardship on the debtor or debtor's dependents. Normally, this is a much tougher standard to meet than one would guess. However, due to your disability, you may be able to prevail.

Regarding your wife's liability on the student loans, it depends on if she is a co-signer. If she co-signed for them, then even if you file bankruptcy and discharge them, the lenders can most likely still go after her. However, if she did not co-sign, then it is unlikely that the lenders can pursue her. Pennsylvania is a not a community property state, and she is not likely liable on the loans with you simply because she is your wife; if she did not co-sign, then she should not be responsible for the loans if you file bankruptcy. Same goes for credit cards and personal loans: if she didn't co-sign, the creditors cannot likely come after her.

You should of course run these issues by your attorney when you file bankruptcy so he or she can confirm whether your wife co-signed, and thus can let you know what to expect regarding her potential liability.

I hope this helps and a positive feedback is always appreciated if this was useful to you.

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