Does My Spouse Have to File Bankruptcy Jointly with Me?

Many debtors go to bankruptcy forum websites seeking help for their financially stressed condition. Inevitably, one of the questions raised at a forum site will be, “Does my spouse have to file bankruptcy jointly with me?”

The answer to the question is pretty simple. No! Your spouse does not have to file jointly with you, but there are circumstances that might make it beneficial if both of you do file jointly.

Depending whether or not you live in a state that is a community property state, whether you have assets, and depending what bankruptcy you file, all might influence your decision to file separately, as one individual, or jointly.

If you live in a community property state, the only way it might be advantageous for you to file individually is if all of your assets were held in account as individuals. To file in this manner means you could not have joint accounts or joint ownership of assets, or your creditors could pursue the spouse’s ownership interest to satisfy your debts. Filing separately or as individuals can be an advantage in certain scenarios.

If you and your spouse really don’t own any assets worth going after, it really doesn’t matter whether you file jointly or as an individual. Filing bankruptcy is all about protecting your assets or giving you a chance to completely start over free of debt. When you don’t have assets as a couple, it is an advantage to file as an individual when your spouse has a good credit rating. Your filing will not go on her credit rating. What might go against her credit rating is if you own joint credit cards and fail to make payments in a timely manner. If her credit is already ruined, she is working in a state that allows garnishment, and you own joint debt, then it might be a good idea to jointly file.

Whether you file jointly or not will also depend on what types of bankruptcy you file. There are two types of bankruptcies most individuals can file- a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commonly called liquidation of your assets, is normally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy. It involves a bankruptcy court taking your non-exempt assets, liquidating them, and then paying your unsecured creditors by a priority list until paid off or the asset value used.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the second bankruptcy available to individuals and is called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts within three or five years. Choosing this plan will allow you to keep all your assets, save your home from foreclosure, consolidate your loans under one plan, extend certain obligations, and to qualify for bankruptcy relief.

Sometimes, it is advantageous for a couple to file two different bankruptcy types at the same time. That is, if they qualify to do so. Deciding whether or not to file jointly, separately as individuals, or as one individual can be a very complicated legal decision. That is why it is recommended you seek out the consultation of a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer might help you understand how these complex laws may apply in your particular situation.

If you determine you are in need of relief from the stress associated with debt and you live in or around the metropolitan areas of Richmond or Petersburg, Virginia, contact us here today at .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area that will help you with any questions you may have on bankruptcy law.

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