We can never tell the future. Some people file bankruptcy and then get married. With a Chapter 7
bankruptcy, it is normally not a problem because most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are over in a matter of months. However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will last between 3 to 5 years. And a lot can change during that time, including finding Mr. Right or Ms. Right. For individuals who are still in a Chapter 13 case, the question becomes: “Does marriage during Chapter 13 bankruptcy affect the bankruptcy"? And “if it does, how"?
The simple answer is yes, marriage during Chapter 13 bankruptcy does or, at least, can affect the
One of the first things that you do when filing bankruptcy is to disclose your income and expenses so that the court, trustee, and creditors can fairly determine your financial situation and your ability to pay on a Chapter 13 payment plan. With an individual, the law looks at the individual's finances. With a married individual filing an individual bankruptcy, the law looks at the married couple's finances even though one Spouse is not involved in the bankruptcy.
Also, in determining if an individual qualifies for bankruptcy, the finances of the individual or the married couple are compared to other people in your state in a similar situation.
The law does not merely look at your financial situation at the beginning of filing bankruptcy. Rather, the law will look at your financial situation when there are changes because the changes may affect your ability to pay the payment plan.
In the case of getting married during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may actually be able to pay more to your creditors because your monthly net income (income less expenses) may increase if your new Spouse helps pay household bills. However, if your new Spouse does not work and does not pay toward household expenses, you may actually have less money to pay toward your payment plan.
Regardless of whether or not your new Spouse works and contributes to paying household bills, you need to notify the trustee of your marriage. Depending on your situation, your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan may need to be amended to reflect your new ability to pay or not to pay.
Even though your new Spouse can affect your payment plan, your new Spouse will not be a party to your bankruptcy.
This is general information. If you need specific information or have any questions of any nature whatsoever, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.
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