If your spouse decides to file for bankruptcy, will you be personally responsible? Can your spouse’s creditors look to you to honor any outstanding obligations? The answer depends.
Though most states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, consider debts incurred by and in the name of only one spouse to be that person’s debt alone, there are exceptions. Even in a state that follows this legal principle, debts that are incurred for what are known as necessities—food, shelter, utilities, medical care etc.—can become joint debt so that both spouses are responsible.
Otherwise, the debt is only an obligation of those who signed an agreement, oragreed in writing to be legally responsible. A common misconception is that “business” credit cards are not personal obligations. For small businesses this is rarely the case. Also, if a spouse is an authorized user, the credit card issuer may try to treat the authorized user as a co-borrower. This is not valid or correct unless the spouse agreed to be responsible in writing. If the credit card issuer claims this, demand written proof.
Most people, unfortunately, do not keep their original card applications or other legal agreements, but this is always a good idea.
Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP
We understand the stress, anxiety and confusion that can be associated with a potential bankruptcy filing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
Representing Clients across South Jersey