Marriage is a great institution, if you like that kind of thing, and I do.
You never have to worry about looking for a date, for one thing, and it is reassuring having someone there for you at the end of the day.
Add finances to the mix, and things can change. Some couples approach finances as a team, some do not. I have had countless clients say to me: this is my wife’s fault, or this is my husband’s fault, when talking about their difficult state of finances. Add to this situations such as second marriages where one spouse brings in a lot of debt into the marriage while one may not have any concerning debt to think of, and things can get tense.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise when I get calls that say “my husband/wife does not want to be part of any bankruptcy; is that possible?” The answer is: yes.
It is possible for only one spouse to file bankruptcy and the other spouse can cheer them on. The non-filing spouse does not have to be involved at all.
Let’s look at an example: it's the second marriage for both. Husband was involved in a particularly difficult divorce which left him with lots of debt. Wife has no debt to speak of. Husband can file for a bankruptcy and it should not affect his new loved one. But read on. There are things to look out for. Under the Bankruptcy Code, even though the wife would not be part of the bankruptcy proceeding, the Court does want to know the total income that comes into the household, so the wife would have to provide that income information. And it is possible that the combined household income might mean that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is out and a Chapter 13 is in.
But unless the husband and wife have some co-signed debt, there should be no other effect on the non-filing spouse.
Whether or not a single-spouse bankruptcy makes sense for you is something we can help with at Steidl and Steinberg. Give us a call and let’s see if it is the answer for you.