My girlfriend and I have been living together for the past 6 years. My children are 9 and 11 and are with me every other week. If i file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy are their things protected? For example: If she can prove she paid for something, is it safe? Her clothing, her computer, so on and so forth. my children: their clothes, toys, beds.. etc. What about family heirlooms in my possession?
Children do not have the legal right to own property, so anything you purchased for the children would be part of your bankruptcy estate. Whether a bankruptcy trustee would be able to seize any property, including family heirlooms, depends on whether there is an exemption to protect that property and whether you properly claim that exemption.
I am posting a link to a general description of exemptions for all 50 states for you to review, but your specific questions would be best answered by a local bankruptcy attorney familiar with the standards employed by the local bankruptcy trustees.
Hope this perspective helps!
Generally, speaking any property owned by your girlfriend will be untouchable in a bankruptcy filed by you. As for family heirlooms and children's property in your possession those would most likely be "property of the estate" if you filed bankruptcy meaning that they could be at risk to being auctioned for the benefit of your creditors. However, under the bankruptcy code you have the to "exempt" property from the estate meaning you can take back the property and keep it. Under Florida law you are entitled to exemptions for personal property, an automobile and if you do not have a homestead property a "wild card" exemption. Finally, if you have more valuable property then exemptions you can typically purchase the property from the estate so you do not lose it in the bankruptcy.
The prior answers are all wrong. Children can own property. Children can have property in their names OR you can be custodian of that property.
For her property, it is hers and protected from your creditors. Joint property can be sold and the proceeds split between the co-owner and your creditors. For property owned by your children, you will need to list that as property held for another.
Family heirlooms that you currently own need to be listed and exempted under the applicable law. Virginia has such an exemption, but I don't know about the other states.
Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.
You must list everything in the home. If you claim homestead exemption, you can only claim up to $1000 of personal property as exempt. If you don't claim homestead, you can claim up to $4000 of personal property as exempt. There is a place to list what is owned by other people in the schedules. If you are over your exemption, the trustee will usually allow you to buy back the overage. There are other exemptions too.
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