What is the most important thing that you need to know about divorce and bankruptcy in Washington State? This is a community property state.
In a community property state there are really three parties to your marriage: you, your spouse, and the marital community. The marital community is made up all of your assets and liabilities. Any property that you acquired during your marriage is community property. That means that both you and your spouse have an ownership interest in that property. Similarly, any debt that you incurred during the marriage is your debt and your spouse’s debt. This is crucial to understanding how bankruptcy and divorce work in Washington State.
The divorce decree may say that your ex-spouse is responsible for the credit cards, but that doesn’t mean anything to the credit card companies. Those credit card companies are not a party to the divorce. Even if your spouse got the credit card in their name, and even if the divorce decree says that your spouse pays that credit card, the credit card company can still sue you on that debt. Why? Because that credit card is a community debt.
Even if ex- your spouse agreed to pay most of the debts, you may still need to file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy will protect you from an ex-spouse who doesn’t pay their bills. If you don’t think you can handle all of the debts from the marriage by yourself, then you should consider filing bankruptcy.
When you are thinking about divorce, you need to be thinking about how you are going to handle your debts after the divorce. Your bankruptcy lawyer can be a valuable partner working with your family law attorney. It is important to structure your bankruptcy and time your bankruptcy so that it works with your divorce. Either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy can make your divorce easier and prepare you for the next phase of your life personally and financially.