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Archive for the ‘bankruptcy rules’ tag

Can You File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

June 15th, 2018 at 6:02 pm

bankruptcyMany people mistakenly believe that if you are married and filing for bankruptcy, you must do so jointly. You have several options after determining that bankruptcy is the right choice. If you are unmarried, you will file independently. If you are married, you may file jointly or as an individual. Both spouses may also choose to file bankruptcy separately, at the same time. Strategically, one option may suit your situation better than the others, depending mainly on location, debts, and assets.

Texas and the Other Community Property States

Texas, along with nine other states, is a community property state. Meaning, any assets or property acquired during marriage belongs equally to both spouses, even if only one spouse’s name is on the contract. The assumption is that all decisions are made together, rather than individually, and both parties are contributing their fair share. Any items owned before the marriage are excluded from the community property, as are any items inherited or given only to one spouse after the union began; this is separate property.

More Property Is at Risk

If you choose to file bankruptcy without your spouse, more property is at risk in community property states than in common law states. In a common law state, only the separate property owned by the filing spouse becomes a part of the bankruptcy estate. In Texas, any community property not covered by exemptions is at risk for seizure. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy together doubles the amount of the exemptions, allowing spouses to keep more items.

The Affected Debts

In a community property state, there, fortunately, is no such thing as community debt. Each spouse has separate obligations for accounts solely in their name, as well as any held jointly. If one spouse files independently, their individual accounts, as well as their joint accounts, are dischargeable. The non-filing spouse experiences what is known as a “phantom discharge” or “community discharge.” Any community property co-owned by both parties becomes off-limits to discharged creditors, including wages. However, because the non-filing spouse did not file, their separate property is unprotected and at risk of seizure to satisfy the debt for joint accounts.

What Is Right for You?

Navigating the avenues of bankruptcy is often confusing and stressful for filers. Attorney Chance M. McGhee has over 20 years of experience assisting clients just like you begin their journey to a better financial future. If you have questions about how to file or wonder about the best option for your situation, a New Braunfels bankruptcy attorney is here to give you the answers you need. At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, we are dedicated to helping you through the process. Call us today at 210-342-3400 for your free consultation.

Bankruptcy Terminology: What is Reaffirmation?

November 29th, 2013 at 11:57 am

texas-reaffirmation-bankruptcyFiling for bankruptcy is a difficult decision. However, bankruptcy is an important tool that gives people a second chance despite the curve balls that life may throw. Indeed, the reason behind the United States Bankruptcy Code is an acknowledgment of the reality that life sometimes just happens.

It is unfortunate that bankruptcy has such a negative stigma. Bankruptcy is an invaluable tool, and if used properly, it allows persons to shed off undesired liabilities while retaining useful assets; just ask Donald Trump.

With proper planning, bankruptcy can even allow a person to continue inhabiting the same home or drive the same car while getting rid of undesired debt. This is all thanks to the concept of reaffirmation. Reaffirmation allows bankruptcy filers to choose to remain liable for the debt that encumbers certain assets, thus keeping those assets.

For example, assume that a person who decides to file for bankruptcy wants to keep a car that they have financed; this may be the vehicle used to make a living or to drive children to school. Under bankruptcy rules, if a person does not reaffirm the debt associated with the car, the bank that financed the purchase would repossess the vehicle and dispose of it as they see fit.

However, a person may reaffirm the debt through a reaffirmation agreement, which allows the debtor to keep the property by continuing to remain liable for the debt despite the bankruptcy. In other words, the bankruptcy filer is promising to continue making the payments on the loan as though the bankruptcy did not happen.

Reaffirmation is a serious matter, however, and people must make certain it is the right thing to do. For example, if the car is worth substantially less than what one owes to the bank, it would make little sense to reaffirm the debt.

While it is true that bankruptcy is a difficult decision, an experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney can ensure that one leverages it to get a fresh start.

Call today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

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