The bond of marriage is a sacred vow. It means you are joined as a couple until death or, of course, divorce.
However, that bond of marriage doesn’t have to extend to applying for bankruptcy, and unfortunately, the belief that it does keeps some people from coming in to see us.
Spouses Don’t Have to File Together
There is no requirement that spouses must file for bankruptcy together. When you come to Steidl and Steinberg for a free consultation regarding your financial situation, we look at every option. In some cases, it makes sense for both to file. In other circumstances, it makes sense for only one spouse to file.
These are some of the factors we will look at to help us decide whether one or both spouses should file:
- The amount of property in each spouse's names,
- The encumbrances (legal liability) on said property,
- The amount of debt in each spouse's names,
- The nature of the debt,
- The joint income of the household,
- The need for one of the spouse's to have credit, although this is not as important as you may think in many cases,
- The attitude of each spouse toward a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy,
- Individual circumstances that may play a role in the decision.
Your Spouse’s Bankruptcy Filing Won’t Harm You
If one spouse files for either kind of bankruptcy, the other spouse will not be harmed. It does not appear on their credit report, for instance. However, it is necessary for the Court to look at all of the income into the household including pay stubs for each spouse and other income information will be needed even though the non-filing spouse’s name will not appear as the filer anywhere in the Court’s records.
If you are married and have debt problems, don’t let your spouse’s doubts or concerns keep you from doing what’s best for you. It may be better for both of you to file, or it may not, but we can help you figure out what will work best for all involved.