Q: Wife recently bought house in FL, I'm not on mortgage but only deed. If I file chapter 7 bk, will house be a part of bk?
All our finances/debt are separate and the home loan is solely in her name (I'm only on the deed of trust). I have a large amount of debt that I can't pay on my own and can't barely manage with both our incomes. All un-secured debt (no car loans, installment loans, etc...). Wanting to know if I'm putting my house (or more specifically, my wife's house) in financial jeopardy by filing Chapt. 7 bankruptcy. Thank you, Jim S
A: Yes. The mortgage does not matter. Your name is on the deed and that indicates ownership. It will have to be included in the bankruptcy.
A: A full answer is beyond the scope of a forum such as this, but the underlying concern is whether there's any non-exempt equity in the home for the bankruptcy trustee to pursue. Florida has a very generous homestead exemption that, should it apply, would likely fully protect the home. I suspect that the homestead exemption is going to be the way to keep the home safe.
If for some reason the homestead exemption does not apply, you might make an argument that while you are a legal owner of the home you don't have any equitable interest (presuming that you didn't make the down payment or contribute toward any mortgage payments). I can't say whether this "bare legal title" argument will be sufficient in Florida courts, though.
Because of the risk to the home, you should not file any form of bankruptcy without first discussing this matter with a local bankruptcy attorney. There's just too much on the line to roll the dice on being able to handle this yourself. That said, you should move quickly. Because your name is on the home, it's exposed to collection actions by your creditors.
A: You facts are incomplete if you want a definitive answer. Do you and your wife appear as the owners on the deed? If you do, you are tenants by the entireties and that property is exempt under the Florida Constitution. By the way, we don't have deeds of trust in Florida.
Go see a good bankruptcy lawyer with your complete set of facts.
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