My husband has incurred close to $60,000 in credit card debt which I was unaware of. He has always paid the bills and I do not have a credit card. He was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. I will only have my part time job income and survivor's benefit from social security when he passes away. We have a mortgage, car payments and I have a student loan of $40,000. I have thought about filing for bankruptcy after his death as I do not know how I can repay the credit card debt. I will receive a small life insurance policy. I understand my student loan will not be discharged in a bankruptcy. I am 65 yrs. old. We have no savings and my husband's retirement ends with his death as we were married after he retired at age 60. is there any way for me to protect myself? Thank you.
Any debt acquired during marriage is considered as community debt and creditors will collect from whoever they can. Your only protection may be Bankruptcy.
Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements
The debts incurred by either of you during marriage are usually considered community debts and both spouses are equally responsible.
Before you file bankruptcy, however, you should be sure to talk to a lawyer. If a probate is started and there creditors do not file claims, after appropriate notice, the debt is not collectible and the claim has to be filed in a particular time period.
I do not do bankruptcy law so I can only generalize but I understand that you may not be able to discharge credit card debt under the bankruptcy act. Talk to a bankruptcy attorney before you file because it might be a waste of time and there may be other alternatives.
Debts and assets acquired during marriage are presumed to be marital in nature. See my AVVO Answers and Legal Guides on the division of assets and debts for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Please keep in mind that although my AVVO Answers and Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. There are always exceptions to the general rules. To find my Answers and Legal Guides, click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "Contributor Level - View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Contribution - Legal Guides" or “Answers.” Scroll down the list of my Legal Guides or do a topic search in my Answers and select those which are relevant to your question. If you like my Answers and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”. Thanks in advance for your support. © Bruce Clement
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