Community property rules have positives and negatives, but if you live in Texas you have to abide by them.

Marriage, Bankruptcy, And Community PropertyWhen the subject of marriage and bankruptcy comes up, the next thing often mentioned is community property.  Depending upon where you live, this may or may not mean anything to you, but Texas is one of nine states that adheres to the community property rules.   An article on the associated content website talks about the details of what community property is.

The article says:

“All property and most debts acquired by either spouse during a marriage are considered community property – meaning one has just as much legal right and liability to them as the other.  All property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or property acquired during the marriage by way of inheritance or gift is considered separate property.  In some cases, separate property can be converted to personal property and vice versa, but the process is long and tedious – and often times, not worth the effort.  Of the same token, just because only one spouse is named on the deed or title to things purchased during the marriage such as homes or cars, does not make them separate property.”

The article then goes on to talk about how debts are dealt with under community property rules.  It says, “Where debts are concerned, you remain liable for all that you incurred and even some of those that your spouse incurred.  It does not matter what the divorce decree says in regards to who will be liable for which debts.  Divorce decrees are not binding where creditors are concerned and you can still be sued.  Should this happen, your only recourse is to sue your spouse to collect the amount of the suit against you from the creditor.”

Another important thing to mention is that debts incurred by each spouse before the marriage are usually not each other’s property.  In many bad financial situations community property rules do a lot more harm to people than they do good.  In some cases spouses have run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and even in some cases without the other knowing about it.

Nonetheless, if you and your significant other, or soon to be ex-significant other, are having financial difficulties, it is important to talk to a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.  You should not rely on the advice of a non-expert, because the order in which you file for bankruptcy and divorce can have a significant impact on your future.  Bankruptcy can give you the opportunity to wipe most of your debts, regardless of who charged them up, but you need to have the advice of an attorney to make sure you are taking the right steps.  Contact a bankruptcy attorney for further advice.