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Ask WALLSTREETESQ Your Own Question

Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 15981
Experience:  14 years exp., CH 7 AND 13 Bankruptcy cases, AFL-CIO UNION PLUS, UFT NYSID AND ALL MAJOR UNIONS
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I live in Wisconsin and received a discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Customer Question

I live in Wisconsin and received a discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2010. I have been married for 5 years. My husband had surgery in January 2010, has been unemployed since 1/04/10 and received a court judgement 12/01/10 for $6,191.63 on behalf of Neurospine. The debt for which the judgement was issued was on my debt/mailing matrix for my bankruptcy case. I did not include my husband in the bankruptcy because it has not been 7 years since he filed his (before we were married). We were in the process of a Chapter 13 but the payments were too much after my husband lost his job and we decided to convert to Chapter 7 in just my name. Can Neurospine and the collection agency legally try to collect this debt? Since Wisconsin is a community property state, any income my husband may be earning would also be considered mine and since I have received a discharge they can't go after my income, right?
Thank you!
Submitted: 3 years ago via Cornell Legal Info Institute.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 3 years ago.

Hi JACustomer,

You are correct that the judgment holder can try to collect that debt from your husband, but not from you. In general, judgment holders can attempt to collect a debt by garnishing wages and bank accounts, and placing liens on property. Since he is unemployed, there is currently no worry about wage garnishment. However, if he has a bank account in his name along, or a joint account with you, these can be garnished.

I think this is what you wanted to know. If not, please let me know.

Thank you!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the reply. I am in need of more information, however. Isn't the debt my husband incurred considered a "community debt" since it was incurred while we are married? Also, isn't any income he earns after my discharge protected from Neurospine (a "community creditor") due to his income (when he becomes employed again) being "community property"? Are both statements true or am I misunderstanding the definitions of "community debt", "community creditor" and "community property"? I would think my situation falls under Section 524 of the bankruptcy code, but I'm not sure of my understanding of "community debt", "community creditor" and "community property".
Thank you again!
Expert:  WALLSTREETESQ replied 3 years ago.

Hello I am a licensed attorney here to help you with your question, please review my response and do not hesitate to ask for clarification.



When one spouse files bankruptcy in a community property state, the marital community enjoys the protection of the filing spouse's bankruptcy discharge. Section 524 of the Bankruptcy Code provides that any community property that the filing spouse and the non filer acquire after the bankrutptcy is protected from creditors of the non filer who held a claim against the non filing spouse as of the date of the filing.


A creditor with a claim against the non filing spouse can only collect its debt from the separate property of the non filing spouse. In ,WISCONSIN that separate property is comprised of assets acquired before marriage; assets acquired by gift during marriage; or assets acquired by inheritance.


Your attorney should send a letter and your discharge letter to the collections agency stating to them the debt cannot be collected.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. I appreciate the time spent to help. This is obviously what I was hoping to hear. Smile I am still curious if a medical bill fits the definition of community debt as I am still unsure of the precise definitions of the terms mentioned above.
Expert:  WALLSTREETESQ replied 3 years ago.
all debt is community debt, under the state laws, all debts incurred during the marriage are shared by both spouses.

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