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Bankruptcy protection

Torrance, CA |

I am about to start a business. I will be signing the lease guarantor. If business went south, and I could not pay my bills.

1. Can I file for bankruptcy to avoid paying rent?
2. I am married, so does that mean that they can come after my spouse for payments even she did not sign lease contract?

Thank you!

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Attorney answers 3


1. Yes, you can file BK to discharge your personal liability on the rent.
2. No, they cannot come after her personally ... but if you DON'T file BK and they sue you and obtain a judgment, they can go after any community property, including her income (unless you had a pre-nup).


A guarantor can discharge his/her liability under a lease. See Getzoff v. Republic Bank of Cal. (9th Cir. B.A.P. 1995) 180 B.R. 572, 574; Motley v. Equity Title Co. (In re Motley), 268 B.R. 237, 241 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2001) .


Filing bankruptcy will not discharge your obligations made after you file, so if you file to avoid paying rent, you will need to have vacated the business premises to avoid future legal responsibility for the rent that accrued after filing. Creditors can generally only "come after" parties who signed a contract. The typical exception for suing a spouse is for a medical debt, not for rent of a business premise. Hope this perspective helps!