I would have been paying into the plan for about 15 months before our wedding. Can we have a joint checking account if I'm in Chapter 13? Should be keep everything seperate?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You absolutely do not have to keep separate bank accounts. I practice in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Court and the Trustee cannot come after your new spouse's bank account. The real question you should be considering is whether your Trustee will ask for future tax returns. The Trustee can ask for your upcoming tax return and if so, this new household income MAY affect your case. So on this issue, who cares about bank accounts, you need to be focused on your financial circumstance as a whole changing. The Trustee may very well never ask for anything and in that case, just keeping making your payments, but please advise you attorney as to changes like this.
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Ask your attorney. The answer depends on practice in your district, on the personality of the trustee, and the preferences of the judge. As a matter of general law, I recommend against any avoidable change in finances during a chapter 13 case because of the possibility that your disposable income will increase, triggering the need for a plan modification.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
I do not feel that there would be any prohibition on opening a checking account together. Although it may be a good idea to keep your accounts separate at least during the course of the bankruptcy. What you should be most concerned about in relation to your bankruptcy is whether this could change your Chapter 13 repayment plan. By getting married this may change your household income causing the Trustee to seek to modify your plan payments due to the increase in income. You should speak to a bankruptcy attorney who can help analyze the effect this has on your plan.
The author’s comments are not to be construed as rendering a legal opinion nor proffering legal advice. To obtain legal advice or a legal opinion, you should retain an attorney to consult with you on your particular matter.
6 lawyers agree
I would recomens keeping all seperate till after bankruptcy if over. Further, if your furture wife gets pregnant, that may be easonable cause for a modification of Plan. Please speak with your counsel.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
This really depends on the Chapter 13 trustee in your jurisdiction. First, it can't hurt to maintain separate bank accounts during the remainder of the bankruptcy Plan. Also, I'm not licensed in Virginia (and can't offer advice as to Virginia law) but the Trustee could always file a post-confirmation Motion to Modify your Plan payment after requesting to see copies of your respective pay stubs and expenses. But, here in Colorado, as all property is deemed to revest back in the Debtor once a Plan has been confirmed, I would think it's very unlikely to see the Trustee re-evaluate the Plan payment.