I am getting married a year from now. Will my filing for bankruptcy
today affect my fiancé in the future?
-- James Juncture
Even after you're married, you will have separate credit reports.
Keeping your credit separate after marriage, however, is a difficult
proposition. Joint credit applications will show up on both of your
credit reports, and even when one spouse is just an authorized user
on the other's credit card, the account shows up on both credit
If you live in a community property state, then credit
obligations entered into during the marriage are presumed to be
joint obligations. The community property states are: Arizona, California,
Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing stays on your credit
report for 10 years while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing stays on
your credit report for seven years. You won't have to wait that
long to gain access to credit again, but it can take a couple of
years before a creditor is ready to approve your credit.
Not saddling your new marriage with your old debts
can make sense, but you will take the credit ramifications of filing
for bankruptcy into the marriage. You'll want to keep your credit
separate so you don't drag her credit rating down. When you need
both incomes to qualify for a loan, such as a mortgage, her name
should be first on the application.
Since President Bush signed the new bankruptcy bill
into law, the bankruptcy code will be changing within six months.
You shouldn't get cold feet about speaking with a bankruptcy attorney
now and, if filing is the right move for you, do it under the existing