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My husband files for bankruptcy, can creditors come after me in a 3 or 5 years to pay for his debts if I won't file with him?

San Jose, CA |

we dont have common debts, I mean I even dont have credit card, but we file joint Income tax return, and he pays for mortgage, but I'm not included in his property. Im an immigrant who came to America 2 years ago, by fiance visa, Im dependable on him. He took most of his credits for his business before I came to America, but I dont know how much more credits he took while we were married. Will I be responsible for his debts? He wants to file for chapter 13. Please, help.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Married individuals are not responsible for their spouse's debts unless they actually signed a credit application or agreed to be responsible for the debt in some other way.

    Thus, if your husband files for bankruptcy, his creditors cannot pursue you later.

    Also, just because your spouse files for bankruptcy relief does not mean that you have to file.

    For more information about bankruptcy, please see my website and bankruptcy blog:


  2. As for the debts incurred before you were married, those are his separate debts for which he is liable for. You are not. Debts accumulated during marriage are considered community debts and your community property assets can be used to satisfy the judgment. Community property is property acquired during marriage. If your husband files Chapter 13, the creditors are prevented from collecting from you while he is in Chapter 13. Practically speaking, if your husband receives a discharge then you should be off the hook as well. I have never seen a creditor sue a non-filing spouse on a community property theory after a discharge has been entered for the filing spouse.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER
    Mr. Larkin is licensed to practice law in CA and is located in San Diego. His response here does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Larkin strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about the specifics of their case.


  3. I agree with Mr. Larkin's response. California is a community property state and debts, including interest, accumulated during marriage are considered community debts and your community property assets can be used to satisfy the judgment. Typically in California, both spouses will file for bankruptcy.

    Disclaimer. The information posted above is for general information, does not constitute professional legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.