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Soon to marry, do I need to file chapter 7,13 b-fore marriage,so that it doesnt effect her credit? If I file is she obligated to

Bakersfield, CA |
Attorney answers 6


If you do not want to include your fiancé's income then you should file prior to getting married, otherwise you will need to include her income information even if you are not filing jointly.

By posting on this site or answering/responding to questions does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended to be an opinion only. My opinion is not intended to be a guarantee or promise of any outcome or result in your matter.


You are barking up the wrong tree - being married will not affect your new spouse's credit but being married could easily affect your ability to qualify for the type of bankruptcy best suited to your situation. So the best thing to do is consult with a local bankruptcy attorney before you do something that can't be easily undone. Hope this perspective helps!


It would be better to file your BK before you are married because If you're married, her income must be included in the analysis of whether you qualify for Ch7 or what your Ch13 payment will be;
Your BK should not affect her credit even after you are married (assuming you have no joint debt).
She does not have to disclose her debts in your BK ... only YOUR debts need be disclosed in YOUR BK.


If you are married, and file a Ch7 or a Ch13, even if you are filing individually (without your wife), you would still have to list (and try to exempt) all of her assets and also show all of her average monthly income. Those two factors could cause you problems in trying to qualify for the bankruptcy and in protecting all of your assets. If you file before marriage, then only your assets, income and debts are involved. None of her information would be included at all. Of course if your soon-to-be wife has significant debt she would like to discharge in a BK as well, then it might make sense to wait and file jointly. It would be wise to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney (many will offer a free initial consultation) to reivew your financial situation, and your wife's information, so that more specific advice can be given to you as to the best approach for you in this situation, and whether a Ch7 or a Ch13 would be best, either individually or jointly.


I recently had someone call me who had just gotten married and now they are being sued by the credit card bank on a large unpaid credit card debt. They don't have the funds to negotiate a settlement and because of their spouse's income, they cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge. Thus, if they settle for payments, the payments will be very tough for the person to pay, probably they will default on any settlement. Had the person filed for bankruptcy before the marriage, both of them would have been much better off, starting their new life without old debts hanging over them.

Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
Twitter: @RStempler

NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


I agree with the above answers: She is not obligated to file the bankruptcy with you once you are married, although, if you have joint debts, it might be in her best interest to do so. However, once you are married, her income will be factored in to determine your qualification for a Chapter 7 or your plan payment for a Chapter 13. You should contact a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation more in depth, so they can better assess what option is best for you.

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