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Chapter 7 question. If wife and I just married and only I file BK, do I only acct for her income during the time of our marriage

Los Angeles, CA |

Just wondering how this is dealt with on means test and budget.

Also, do I need to list that she has a financed car, etc. that has nothing to do with me?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Assuming you still live together: "No."

    Her income counts on the means test.

  2. To answer just the questions you have posted...You need to list her average income for the last 6 months. As that is the basis on which she is expected to contribute to the household now. You also need to list all of her assets.

    You have to be very cognizant that bankruptcy is extremely complicated. It is even more complicated when you have 1 filing spouse. I urge you to contact an attorney to fully discuss your case. It is definitely worth it to invest $1,500-$2,000 in working with an attorney so that mistakes are avoided and your assets (including your wife's) are properly protected. We offer free consultations and do work with the Los Angeles Courts.

    If you'd like to discuss your case feel free to contact our office.

    Attorney's response does is not intended as legal advice is intended for informational purposes only. Attorney's response does not create an attorney client relationship. Inquirer should seek the advice of a duly licensed attorney within that particular jurisdiction.

  3. Means test: avg past 6 months for BOTH H & W (doesn't matter if newly married) - can also use wife's debt, etc., as an expense, if needed
    Budget: list income for BOTH H & W, and expenses for BOTH
    Must list all of community's debt debt obligations, which includes wife's car, etc.

    Now that you're married in California, be very careful when thinking "has nothing to do with me". California is a Community Property state, and Community Property laws are not intuitive and not based on common sense.

    California Family Code Section 910 reads:

    (a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, the
    community estate is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse
    before or during marriage, regardless of which spouse has the
    management and control of the property and regardless of whether one
    or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the
    (b) "During marriage" for purposes of this section does not
    include the period during which the spouses are living separate and
    apart before a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal
    separation of the parties.

    When looking for a lawyer to help with your bankruptcy, you'll want to be sure to find someone who actually understands bankruptcy law in California, which is a COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE. You may be surprised, but many lawyers (even bankruptcy lawyers...) get this wrong, and don't understand the law and what is required in a bankruptcy case when only one spouse files.

    For more help visit:

    Best of luck!

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney with whom you have established an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.

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