When you file for bankruptcy, you must complete forms that tell the court about your income, the property you own, your debts, and financial transactions. On one of the forms, Schedule H: Your Codebtors, you list every person or entity that might be financially responsible for your debt. Read on to learn more about what a codebtor is and how to complete Schedule H.
For more information about other types of bankruptcy forms, see our topic area on Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
A codebtor is a person or entity that is also liable for one or more of your debts. For example, when you need a car but you have bad credit, a car dealer might encourage you to ask a friend or family member to cosign the loan. By doing so, your cosigner agrees to pay for the car if you don’t.
While most people are aware of this type of codebtor, there are others. Here are some common codebtors you might have to list on Schedule H:
On Schedule H, you must disclose the names and addresses of all of your codebtors, list which debt each is liable for, and state whether you’ve lived as a married person in a community property state. The form’s easy-to-understand instructions will help you answer the form’s three questions.
The first question asks you if you have any codebtors. Simply check “Yes” or “No” and move on to the second question.
Next, you’ll list the current name and address of any spouse (or former spouse) that you’ve lived with in a community property state or territory eight years prior to filing for bankruptcy. Keep in mind that if you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy with your spouse, you don’t need to list your spouse on Schedule H.
Community property states and territories include:
For more information on whether it makes sense to file for bankruptcy individually or jointly with your spouse, see Bankruptcy for Married Couples: Filing Options.
To fill out the remaining part of Schedule H, you’ll provide the name and address of each codebtor and tell the court whether you listed your mutual creditor in Schedule D, Schedule E/F, or Schedule G by checking the appropriate box.
If you file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge, your creditors can still collect the debt from your codebtor. Your discharge doesn’t wipe out your codebtor’s obligation to pay the obligation back.
But you may be able to protect your codebtors by paying off your joint debts after bankruptcy or through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. Just be aware that if you try to do it through a Chapter 13 plan and the debt is unsecured—such as credit card debt, medical bills, or a personal loan—you’ll have to pay back all of your other creditors, as well.
To learn more about how your codebtors are treated in bankruptcy, see What Happens to My Cosigner in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? and What Happens to My Cosigner in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Warning: This article provides general information about Schedule D. Before you complete this or any other bankruptcy form, you must understand bankruptcy law in its entirety and may need to know local customs in your bankruptcy court. Consult with a local bankruptcy attorney or read a comprehensive self-help book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.