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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22965
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My wife recently had a car accident and she was at fault. It

Customer Question

My wife recently had a car accident and she was at fault. It happened when she was setting the restricted driver licence test. The car she was driving was a friend car which had no insurance. Unfortunately.
The other drivers insurance company sent a bill of $50600 for my wife to pay.
My wife has no employment and have mental illness. She is not on sickness benefit or any other help from the government due to my income being above the threshold of her claiming help from WINZ.
I am the only breadwinner in the family with full time employment and 3 dependent children and wife.
The insurance company called me as I am the contact person (my wife cant speak English language very well). They informed me that my wife needs to pay the amount even if she is not working.
They informed me that because she is my wife I need to help her to pay her debt otherwise they will refer the case to the dept. collectors which will cost us more hassle.
They offered $50 a week payment option for my wife or full payment with %15 discount.
We cant afford both options due to rent, etc.
I was just asking for help with this matter.
First, am I liable to pay for my wife’s accident? Because she can’t work
Secondly, can my wife file bankruptcy to help sort this matter? Or I as a husband i have to pay for this?
Also I wanted to know if there is any other option to reduce financial burden on me and my kids and family.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

I am just reading this now

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sorry the amount is $5600
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Answering the questions in the order that you have placed them,
you are not liable to pay for your wife's accident. Husbands are are not liable for their wife's debts and she is not liable for your debts. She could apply for bankruptcy if she is unable to pay this debt. You have no obligation to make any payment as the insurance company is suggesting. They cannot force you to pay. If she applies for bankruptcy, then the debt will be written off. If she has any assets, like a half share in your house, that would however be caught up in her bankruptcy. But if she doesn't actually own any assets, and you do not own a house but you are tenants, then I suggest you tell the insurance company that she is not working, has mental health issues, and does not have the ability to pay, but that if you force this, she will just apply for bankruptcy. Either way they will get nothing

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

I thought she must have hit a very expensive car, and that does change my answer.I am not sure it is worth going bankrupt for $5600 but depending on your circumstances, there is an easier alternative called the No Asset Procedure which may also apply. This only lasts for a year. So you can tell the insurance company if they push this, she will apply for the No Asset Procedure. She will only be eligible for this if she actually has no assets.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Chris thanks. I also would like to know what would be the effect of bankruptcy on our family as a whole? also in regards ***** ***** she has no assets she doesn't have anything valuable like car, etc a part from dining table on her name. I would have liked to call you but cant at this time. I appreciate your help.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

She would be bankrupt on her own, and it would not affect you and the family. But the No Asset procedure would be better, as that is for small debts like this.

To enter she must...

  • Owe between $1,000 and $47,000
  • Have no realisable assets
  • Be unable to repay her debt


  • This is a 12 month procedure
  • Her credit rating can be affected for up to seven years
  • There are responsibilities and restrictions during a No Asset Procedure
  • Her provable debts will remain unpaid
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks Chris. It means that she will need to pay the debt after 12month? Or it is fully avoidable for her to pay this amount? I am just trying to avoid insurance company force Thier terms on us. I am thinking if the debt remains payable I may be able to get $5 weekly payment towards helping my wife rather than going through all this process where she can't even speak the language and she will relaps and get unwell. I appreciate your input to advise on best option available to us?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

She wont have to pay the debt. But why dont you write explaining her lealth, her lack of income, and say if they try and make her pay, you are concerned about the stress on her health and that she will just file for insolvency if they push this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Chris. I will follow up with insurance company and let them know that she is not able to pay. I will read the link info that you sent discuss it with my wife. I will update you and will keep in touch. Kind regards. Emil
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.