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I have no joint debt with my wife. Can my wife be hurt by my bankruptcy in California?

Walnut, CA |

The process indicates I list MY assets,.My debts. My exemptions. I don't give my wife's soc. sec. number. I do truthfully make clear in the Means Test, my family income and expenses.
I want to be candid, but how much do I need to disclose of hers?
No trickery on my part, but is trustee able to find everything about my wife's things.
I can't afford a lawyer.

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Attorney answers 4


Respectfully, if you cannot afford a lawyer you should not be considering bankruptcy given the questions you have asked. All your assets, including community property assets you have with your wife, must be disclosed. You need to personally consult with a lawyer for answers to your questions or you are likely to make a BIG misstep. Good luck.

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Since California, along with Nevada and several other states, is a community property states, property that you consider belonging to your Wife because the title is only in her name, may in fact be community property. So imagine the reaction of your Wife when a bankruptcy trustee seizes her car, her bank account and sells her other property because you decided not to pay for a bankruptcy lawyer! Bad move! Hope this perspective helps!


If you cannot afford a lawyer to represent you throughout your entire case, you may want to consider limited-scope representation and using a bankruptcy law firm/lawyer to interview you, advise you on the law and exemptiom planning, including community property assets and any exposure you may have to creditors/any non-exempt assets , and to possibly prepare your case/petition & schedules properly. You will be much better off taking this course, even if going into the 341 (a) hearing without legal representing.

Your questions and cements suggest that you DO NEED legal assistance. If done properly, bankruptcy can be of great help to people, and one lesson to learn may be to begin making wise(r) choices now to reap future benefits; rolling the dice with a bankruptcy can land a person in a worse situation financially (and possibly criminally...) than before they started.

Bottom line: be your own best support and seek legal help now...then possibly take the reins after your case has been prepared and ready to be filed in its final form.

Best of luck!

Michael Salanick, Esq.

NOTE: we can be reached at (310) 590-4575. This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney with whom you have established an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.


This is simply asking for trouble. Community property, just generally, means anything acquired during the marriage except through inheritance or devise, and even inheritance can be transmuted into community property if community property are used to maintain it. How something is titled is irrelevant. Schedule B doesn't really say "my" property or "your property" Look over in the 4th column where it says "Husband, Wife, Joint, or Community" Many people in financial trouble think they cannot afford a lawyer when in reality they learn that they couldn't afford not to get one. I hope this will not be your experience.

I am not YOUR lawyer. Don't rely on answers to questions as legal advice. For legal advice contact a Bankruptcy Attorney for a consultation. Tokarska Law Center is a Federal Debt Relief Agency representing individuals and businesses in filing for bankrutpcy protection under the U.S. Bankrutpcy Code. Kathryn U. Tokarska is a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, owner of Tokarska Law Center, 185 West F Street #100, San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 285-1992

Michael Raymond Daymude

Michael Raymond Daymude


"Many people in financial trouble think they cannot afford a lawyer when in reality they learn that they couldn't afford not to get one." -- In my experience, this is true; particularly in the BK context where fees are so reasonable.

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