Do I Have to Include My Wife in My Bankruptcy? – Joe

“Dear Lewis,

Hi, I am in NC and had “perfect credit” until I borrowed 180K on credit cards and put it in a business that has failed. Now I am unemployed (0 income) and have no other assets (live in an apt and have 12K in scattered in 7 different bank accounts along with some “cash cash”).

I have three bankruptcy questions:

1) If my wife is not listed on any of the debts will I need to name her in the bankruptcy? (she has an income of 15K annually)

2) if I am sued prior to filing bankruptcy this September, will the default judgement be eligible for discharge the bankruptcy?

3) If I were to inherit 500K 6 months after the bankruptcy can I keep it?



Dear Joe,

Pretty straightforward answers for the most part.

1) No. Your wife does not need to be included in the bankruptcy, if you are certain she is not liable/did not sign for any of the debts. But her income must be used for purposes of qualifying you for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

2) Yes. Judgments are generally discharged in bankruptcy. This is subject to any creditor (with or without a judgment) trying to determine that your debt is non-dischargeable for a list of reasons (fraud being the usual one; or charging credit cards too close to the filing date).

3) Please see section 541(a)(5) of the bankruptcy code regarding inheritances within 180 days of filing bankruptcy. Almost all trustees ask if you expect to inherit anything in the near future. If you were to inherit money after filing, then you can be certain the trustee will see if it is within the 180 day rule.

Good luck!

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

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