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Terry L.
Terry L., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 2901
Experience:  Better Business Bureau. 18yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar Assoc. American Bankruptcy Institute member.
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My wife & I have been separated for 6 years. I live in the

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My wife & I have been separated for 6 years. I live in the house owned together but signed agreement that I get the house. Wife files for bankruptcy~will I lose house or equity? I have been the sole payer on the house for these 6 years. Agreement with separation that I am to give wife 20,000. If I show up in court on day of bankruptcy and give it to her in the courtroom will this stop anything from happening to the house? She claims her debt is 30,000. The bankruptcy is scheduled for Tuesday & I really need advice, please. She will not wait to do this until after the divorce is final (within 4 months) & I think she wants to clear her debt so she can sit on the 20,000.
It will depend on the exemptions allowed to protect real estate.
The money you owe might be an asset in the case, so you should let the trustee and her attorney know.

Here are the Virginia homestead exemptions

$5000 plus $500 per dependent
may also claim rents & profits
sale proceeds exempt to $5000 (husband and wife may double)
Cheeseman v. Nachman, 656 F. 2d 60 (4th Cir. 1981)
unused portion of homestead may be applied to any personal property
May include mobile home
Must file homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy
Property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse
Code sections, case law : 34-4,34-18, 34-20, In re Goad, 161 B.R. 161
W.D. Va. 1993), 34-6, In re Harris, 155 B.R. 948 (E.D. Va. 1993)

The section on tenancy by the entirety may protect you, depending on how the purchase was set up when you and your ex bought the home.

if there is no equity in the home, the home will not be an issue. You can still make the payments and keep the home.
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