Can One Spouse File for Bankruptcy?

When married couples are in need of debt relief, there are many different approaches they can take to get it. When the possibility of filing for bankruptcy is considered, questions frequently arise about the best way to go about it:

  • Should just one spouse file?
  • Can we file jointly?
  • Is there a downside if just one of us files?

These are all extremely important questions that should be fully explored before any decisions are made, but getting answers can sometimes be a challenge. The assistance of a reputable bankruptcy lawyer like Cherry Hill attorney Joel Spivack can ensure that you get the honest answers and information you need to make a sound decision.

What Happens When Just One Spouse Files for Bankruptcy?

If there are any jointly held debts included in the bankruptcy petition and just one spouse files, the creditors can, and almost certainly will, come after the other spouse to collect the debt. Once you gain protection under the automatic stay, the creditors will be unable to come after you to collect the debt. If you and your spouse both signed for the home mortgage, a car, a boat or even a joint credit card, however, your spouse will be held responsible for those debts.

If all of the debts you included in your bankruptcy petition were under your name only, the creditors would not be able to seek repayment from your spouse. If you are considering bankruptcy and any of the debts you wish to include are held jointly between you and your spouse, it might be best to consider filing a joint bankruptcy petition.

Discuss Your Case with a Dedicated New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney

I am attorney Joel R. Spivack. I have represented individual spouses and married couples in single and joint Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings across South Jersey and the Philadelphia area. I invite you to schedule a free, in-person consultation at my Cherry Hill office to discuss your debt relief options. My regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Free parking is available. You can reach me by phone at 856-488-1200 . You can also contact me via e-mail.

To read more about bankruptcy frequently asked questions, click here.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

We are here to help you.

Is this a New Jersey matter or Philadelphia Region matter?
We are licensed to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Attorney Joel R. Spivack is an experienced bankruptcy and residential real estate transactions lawyer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Clients come to us for legal services, but what we really provide is peace of mind. For more than 30 years, Attorney Spivack has helped people make wise, informed decisions about bankruptcy filings, debt relief options and residential real estate transactions.
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