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Can bankruptcy be filed on an a judgement (unsecured credit debt).

Bakersfield, CA |

I have a tentative settlement for my wife's debt. I am willing to pay even though it was generated before marriage. My problem is I want the settlement in writing before the funds is tranferred. They, ( the creditor) want the checking account number first. Although they say the conversation with that verbal agreement is recorded. (I can't prove that). Also I set up a special checking account just for that transaction, if their word would be kept. I would like to now how to proceed.

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Attorney answers 6


Yes ... but settlement may be the better way to go here; because even if she files by herself, your income must be included in the calculations regarding whether she qualifies for Chapter 7.
If the issuing bank is well-known, it's probably unlikely that they would renege on your settlement agreement. But you could sent the settlement check certified, along with a note laying out the settlement and your understanding that depositing the check constitutes acceptance. Don't forget to print out this webpage just in case.


I'm not sure I fully understand your question. If you are asking whether you can file BK and discharge this debt that you are talking about agreeing to pay (I assume in a divorce case?), the answer would be "no." Promises to pay debts of your spouse, such as this, and other similar things that are created as part of a marital dissolution are considered priority debts and are not dischargeable if the obligation was incurred in the course of a divorce or separation agreement or divorce decree or other order of the court. See BK Code Sect. 523(15). Not sure where the recorded conversation and special checking acct. etc. fit into the equation.

William James Waters

William James Waters


After reading Atty. Whitaker's excellent response, and then re-reading your question, I realized that for whatever reason I read your question as being related to a divorce agreement. I guess its been a long day. Anyway, sorry about that. I agree that any settlement you reach, even if reduced to a judgment, can always be discharged in a BK, just like the pre-settlement debt itself can be discharged. But, if it is your wife's pre-marital debt, as you say, and you are trying to individually reach some sort of settlement agreement for you to pay that debt, then yes, you can discharge that obligation but your wife would still be personally liable for it. That is because, as you stated, she incurred the debt pre-marriage. So if you BK your obligation under the newly-created settlement agreement, your wife would be left solely liable, unless she too were to file for BK and discharge her liability as well.


This question is a little confusing. It seems as though you have made an agreement to settle your wife's credit card debt - but there are conditions attached? If one of the conditions is to give ANY bank account number, I would advised not to agree to it.

If the creditor already has obtained a court judgment, it may be trying to get a bank account number so it can levy the bank account (in the event that you don't pay up voluntarily).

In any event, if you make a payment to that creditor with a cashier's check or money order, you will not reveal your bank account information.

As far as whether or not YOU can discharge that debt in YOUR own chapter 7 bankruptcy, the answer is: probably not, if it is your wife's debt that she incurred before you were married. It could not be a community debt. On the other hand, if you both filed a joint bankruptcy case, that debt could be included and discharged.

Good luck.

This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or formed by the posting of this answer.


1. You can file a bankruptcy to discharge credit debt.
2. Don't give them anything without a writing.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here. Please visit my web site: for more information about my services.


Your instincts are correct to request a written settlement agreement before you pay any settlement. However, more facts are needed about the nature of the debt and your family's financial situation before you pay any money to settle this account. Try to contact a qualified lawyer before you act further.

Michael Chekian, Esq.

Chekian Law Office
11400 W. Olympic Blvd. #200
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 390-5529
Fax (310) 451-0739

This post is for informational purposes only and is not specific legal advice for your matter. Please seek advice of an attorney for guidance in your specific legal matter. I am a lawyer and debt relief agency helping persons file bankruptcy under the U.S. Code.


Your headline question is "Can Bankruptcy be filed on a judgement?", and the answer is generally yes. You should consult an attorney to go over all of your options.

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