I'm Married. Can I File Bankruptcy Without My Spouse?
This is a question that we get a lot. Can I file bankruptcy without my spouse? The asnwer is yes you can. There are several reasons why it is good to do this, and some reasons that it might not be such a good idea. Alwayes get an attorney who knows bankruptcy well if you are considering this. We only go this route if it will work out better for the couple. So how does this work and why do it?
Generally, in a chapter 7, one spouse can file for bankruptcy protection and successfully obtain a discahrge without the other spouse, as long as taking into consideration the couples' combined income, they would qualify qualify for chapter 7 discharge together. The combined income of the couple would either have to be under the median income, or the income amount of both spouses would have to pass the means test. In a case where the debtor is married but filing without their spouse, both incomes (the debtor and the non-filing spouse's income) must be disclosed. This is the same in a chapter 13 case. Both incomes would need to be disclosed to determine the plan duration, and disposible income.
When filing a married but seperate case, all community assets must be disclosed, as well as the filing spousees seperate assets. Couples usually perfer to have only one spouse file when oe spouse has a good credit score and the other's is poor. Also, couples might decide to file only one spouse when that spouse has brought a lot of debto into the marriage. All community obligations must be disclosed. If you or your spouse are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, it is important to speak to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can explain the benefits and disadvantages of filing togehter or seperate. Feel free to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in our office at 480-355-1377.