What Happens If One Person on a Mortgage Files Bankruptcy : How It Impacts Co-Borrowers




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What Happens If One Person on a Mortgage Files Bankruptcy

Getting a mortgage is a significant financial commitment. It usually involves multiple parties who share the responsibility of repaying the loan. However, life is unpredictable, and sometimes one person on a mortgage may face financial difficulties, leading them to consider filing for bankruptcy. This raises several questions about how bankruptcy affects the mortgage and the parties involved. In this blog post, we will explore the potential consequences of one person on a mortgage filing for bankruptcy.

1. Joint and Several Liability

Before diving into the impact of bankruptcy, it is essential to understand the concept of joint and several liability. When co-borrowers sign a mortgage agreement, they become jointly and severally liable for repaying the loan. This means that each person is individually responsible for the entire debt. If one person defaults on their payment obligations, the lender can pursue the remaining borrower(s) for the full amount owed.

2. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If one person on a mortgage filing for bankruptcy chooses Chapter 7, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, it can have several implications. The debtor’s non-exempt assets may be sold to repay creditors, but there is an automatic stay in place that temporarily halts collection efforts, including foreclosure proceedings. However, once the bankruptcy process is complete, the lender can resume foreclosure if the remaining borrower(s) fail to make the necessary payments.

3. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization plan that allows debtors to repay their debts over a specified period, typically three to five years. In this scenario, the debtor’s assets are not liquidated. Instead, a repayment plan is created based on the debtor’s income and the amount owed to creditors. If the remaining borrower(s) continue making mortgage payments as scheduled, the lender cannot initiate foreclosure proceedings.

4. Co-Debtor Stay

Under certain circumstances, if one person on a mortgage files bankruptcy, the co-borrower(s) may benefit from the co-debtor stay provision. This provision can be employed in Chapter 13 bankruptcies and protects co-borrowers from collection efforts by creditors. It grants co-borrowers the opportunity to catch up on payments by restructuring the loan and preventing foreclosure.

5. Impact on Credit Scores

Bankruptcy has a significant impact on credit scores for all parties involved. The person filing bankruptcy will likely experience a substantial decrease in their credit score. Additionally, the remaining borrower(s) may also experience a negative effect on their credit scores due to the missed payments or the impact of having a bankruptcy on their joint credit history.

6. Communicating with the Lender

Regardless of the bankruptcy chapter, it is crucial to communicate with the lender to discuss the situation. Being proactive and transparent about the financial challenges can lead to potential alternatives and solutions. Some lenders may be willing to offer loan modification options or negotiate new repayment terms to prevent foreclosure.

7. Seeking Legal Advice

Bankruptcy can be a complex process, and each case is unique. It is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a bankruptcy attorney who can provide guidance and represent your interests. They will help you navigate through the legal requirements, protect your rights, and ensure you fully understand the implications of filing for bankruptcy.

Frequently Asked Questions Of What Happens If One Person On A Mortgage Files Bankruptcy : How It Impacts Co-borrowers

Can One Person On A Mortgage File For Bankruptcy Alone?

Indeed, one person on a mortgage can file for bankruptcy without involving other people on the loan. However, it might have implications on co-borrowers.

What Happens To The Home If One Person On A Mortgage Files Bankruptcy?

When one person on a mortgage files for bankruptcy, the lender might initiate foreclosure proceedings, potentially affecting the home’s ownership and the other borrower’s financial situation.

Will The Other Borrower Be Responsible For The Mortgage If One Person Files Bankruptcy?

If one person on a mortgage files bankruptcy, the other borrower might become solely responsible for the mortgage and the associated payments. Discussing with a legal professional is advised.

Can One Person’s Bankruptcy Affect The Other Borrower’s Credit Score?

Yes, the bankruptcy of one person on a mortgage can negatively impact the credit score of the other borrower since they are jointly responsible for the loan.


Filing for bankruptcy, as a co-borrower on a mortgage, has various consequences. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can affect the mortgage and the credit scores of all parties involved. However, exploring options such as loan modifications and seeking legal advice can provide alternatives and potential solutions. Remember, communication with the lender and transparency about your financial situation are essential. If faced with these circumstances, consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to better understand your options and responsibilities.

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