Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer Now.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.
Question: “What if that business fails or she defauts on a loan, can she file bankruptcy separately. Am I at all jointly responsible for her credit cards etc in her name? Can creditors get at any of the equity I have accrued in the joint household?”
Answer: You are not liable for your wife’s debts. That goes for any loans she takes out solely in her name, and any credit cards solely in her name as well. Therefore, if she were to default on such a loan or credit card, then her creditors cannot go after you or your assets. However, they can go after jointly held assets up to her interest in them (i.e. your half would be protected, and her half could be taken).
Real estate requires a little clarification, however. If you and your wife own your home as a “tenancy by the entireties,” then her creditors cannot touch the house. If you own it as a “joint tenancy” or “tenancy in common,” then her creditors can get to the house, but only her portion of it. In that scenario, the house could be sold, the mortgage would be paid first, and the equity would be split evenly between you and your wife … the creditors may go after her share of the equity.
This is just a guess since I haven’t seen your deed, but I suspect you own the house as a “tenancy by the entireties” since that is the preferred way for a married couple to own property. Check your deed to be certain … it should clearly state one of the 3 methods of ownership I mentioned above.
Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.
Question: “wouldn't the house be divided equitably, ant not even or slplit, but according to what pre-martial assets that are shown to have been used to purchase the house?”
Answer: Yes, the divorce judge would take into account the pre-marital money that you put into the house. To that extent, there’s a good chance you’d walk away with a larger chunk of the house than your wife in a divorce.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).