My wife owns a home with some equity, but home was hers before we married and remains in her name only. We live in that home now, and I help her some with her mortgage expenses. Is her home something that I need to declare in my own chapter 7 and will it count as my own asset, thus making it more difficult for me to get a discharge? She does not want to or need to file bankruptcy for herself.
When you file a bankruptcy case, you only list the property that you have a legal interest in on the day that you file. So unless your name is on the deed or your wife have granted you some form of interest in the property (i.e., life estate, etc.) it does not get listed in your personal bankruptcy as being one of your assets that a trustee/creditor could possibly sale and distribute to creditors. Based on your explanation, it does not sounds as if you have a legal interest in the house (other than maybe a possessory interest to live there).
I am only licensed in the state of Illinois. This is only my general observation about the law and my experiences as a practicing attorney. This is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice. This does not create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship, then you should directly contact a lawyer licensed in your state who you believe possesses the knowledge and experience to assist you with your case. If you are interested in a more detailed legal analysis of your situation and reside in Illinois, contact 360 Legal toll-free at 855-360-4608 or at www.threesixtylegal.com.
Wendy gave you the right answer as far as I know. What she told you would be true in Ohio where I practice, but you need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in the state where your wife will be filing bankruptcy. Then you will be able to get a definitive answer.
Family Law Attorney
You really need to talk with a bankruptcy attorney in NJ, as it may be a community law state.
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If the home has always been in your wife's name and you have never been on a deed to the home, it is not an asset of your bankruptcy estate and does not need to be included on your petition. My colleagues' earlier answers are correct as applied here in NI.
Bruce C Truesdale
The home is not your property and need not be disclosed in your filed schedules. It will not affect your bankruptcy. You should be prepared to show the trustee the deed etc to prove your wife's separate ownership.
The foregoing answer is for informational and educational purposes, not for purposes of legal representation. This answer is based on New Jersey law and is necessarily general in nature.. Laws in other states may be different, and each situation is different, so this answer might not apply accurately to you. No attorney client relationship is to be implied from this answer. Always seek independent legal advice.