Can I File Bankruptcy Without My Spouse?

A picture of a frustrated married couple filing for bankruptcy.

Sometimes both partners within marriage are facing financial challenges, while other times one has racked up significant debt on joint accounts that affect both partners.

It’s important to know that married couples have the option to file bankruptcy together, but they’re not obligated to do so.

How To File Bankruptcy When Married

If you’re contemplating filing for bankruptcy, you’ll want to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and figure out whether it makes sense for you to file jointly or on your own.

For married couples initiating bankruptcy on a joint basis, it will be less expensive than filing on your own because the filing fees are exactly the same whether you go in as a joint file or a single file. Attorneys may also charge less for joint filings than they would for two separate individual filings. All of the property becomes subject to bankruptcy proceedings in these cases.

If one spouse is filing on their own, they might want to protect the spouse’s credit or some of their property. If you had a property in your name before getting married and the spouse initiates a bankruptcy proceeding, that property does not become part of the bankruptcy estate. Meaning the court and trustee don’t have jurisdiction over the property regardless of the value. All debts are discharged if both parties in the couple file jointly.

The personal debts and any debts incurred together are eliminated. When only one spouse files for bankruptcy, however, that spouse is the only one to get a discharge. Meaning that the non-filing spouse will still have to pay any joint debts or any personal debts.

As you can see, there are very complicated factors involved in determining whether or not it’s in your best interests to file for bankruptcy on your own, or as a couple.

Schedule Your Free Consultation With An Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney

Talking directly with an attorney and walking through the unique aspects of your financial situation including your assets and your liabilities can further clarify what’s truly right for you. Joel R. Spivack is here to help you when you’re facing bankruptcy.

Call 856-488-1200 Or Fill Out Our Form To Get Started Today

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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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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