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  • Jul 15, 2009, 11:15 AM
    Husband declaring ch. 7, should I?

    My husband and I have been married since March 2008.

    About a week after we married, he signed a Promissory Note to purchase a restaurant business for about $250k.

    The business has now failed. The owner is going to sue him for the whole amount of the promissory note, if not more.

    My husband is going to declare ch. 7 bankruptcy to get protection from this suit, and also because he has about $18k of personal debt that he incurred BEFORE WE WERE MARRIED.

    He currently has bad credit, so ch. 7 bankruptcy is pretty much the best option for him.

    I however have pretty good credit (in the 700s). I have about $7,500 of debt (1 VISA, 1 store credit card, 1 medical bill). All of these have always been paid on time and we have no problems paying them. My name is the only name on all of these accounts.

    The question is whether I need to file bankruptcy or not. My husband already has a bankruptcy lawyer and is in the process of filing, which will cost us $2,100. We were originally thinking I would not declare bankruptcy because my debit is not a problem, and we do not have any joint accounts (except a checking and savings account). However, the lawyer advised my husband that I too should declare bankruptcy to protect me from a judgement or suit for the $250k promissory note. Keep in mind my name is not on the promissory note, but we were married when my husband signed it. My husband and his father signed the note. (His father has his own lawyer and is in the process of settling or declaring bankruptcy on his own). The bankruptcy lawyer told my husband that the holder of this promissory note could come after me for the $250k because I am married to my husband and my husband signed the note.
  • Jul 15, 2009, 11:22 AM

    THE REST OF MY QUESTION (I got cut off):

    Is this true? I was under the impression that for small debts one spouse could be held responsible if the other defaults, but for large purchases (mortgages, $250k promissory note, etc) required both spouses' signatures for both spouses to be held responsible.

    I mean, if the guy did come after me, would he legally have a case? I don't want to declare bankruptcy because I don't want to ruin my good credit. But I don't want to NOT DECLARE bankruptcy, then get sued for the $250k, and have to declare bankruptcy for myself anyway because that will cost us another $2,100 plus whatever we paid on my debts in the mean time.

    The holder of this note is a former friend of my husband and he really is evil. He has been threatening my husband with letters and emails. I don't put it past him that he would find every way possible to get us, but would he legally be able to hold me responsible for something I didn't sign, but something my husband did sign?
  • Jul 15, 2009, 11:28 AM


    We now live in a community property state- Wisconsin. The business was also in Wisconsin. The note was signed in Indiana, which is not a cimmunity property I believe. We were married in Indiana and have an Indiana marriage license.

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