Ashburn, VA asked in Divorce for Virginia

Q: simple question. if you get a divorce and one partner files for banruptcy can they touch the house you still both own?

bankruptcy would include credit cards and medical bills only

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: It depends on the type of bankruptcy and the title to the real property. For the most part, a bankruptcy trustee steps into the shoes of the debtor, a creditor of the debtor, or a good faith buyer of property, and can exercise those rights. The strong-arm powers of a trustee allows a trustee to avoid or undo certain transactions.

Most married couples hold title to property as tenants by the entirety with the common-law right of survivorship. This tenancy is protected from the individual creditors of either spouse, except for the IRS. Upon divorce, the survivorship is severed, and the ex-spouses are tenants in common, each owning an undivided half interest unless otherwise specified. Each ex-spouse's interest is now subject to the creditors of that spouse, and to administration by a trustee in bankruptcy. Any spouse or ex-spouse with a partner in bankruptcy should consult with an experienced Virginia bankruptcy and divorce lawyer.

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