How Will Filing for Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?
Aug. 16, 2022
If you are married and struggling with debt, you may be considering filing for bankruptcy to discharge the debts and get a fresh start. But, should you file for bankruptcy with or without your spouse? If you decide to file jointly, how will the bankruptcy filing affect your spouse and their credit report?
There are many things to consider before filing for bankruptcy, especially if you are married. The effect of a bankruptcy filing on your spouse depends on your unique situation. You should discuss your particular case with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to explore your options and understand the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy separately or jointly. A skilled and detail-oriented bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your specific situation to help you make the best decision regarding your financial future. The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. proudly serves clients in Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia.
Personal Debt vs. Joint Debt in Florida
You may mistakenly assume that marriage makes your spouse responsible for all your debts. However, that is not true. A spouse can be responsible for their spouse’s debts only if the debts are in both spouses’ names. If you want to know how filing for bankruptcy can affect your spouse, you need to understand the difference between personal and joint debt.
Personal debts. If the debts were incurred solely in your name, the bankruptcy filing would have no effect on your spouse or their credit score.
Joint debts. If the debts were incurred in both spouses’ names, both spouses could be affected by the bankruptcy filing.
If you have joint debts but file for bankruptcy individually without your spouse, you will no longer be responsible for the debts that were discharged. However, creditors can still come after your spouse to pursue the payment because you filed for bankruptcy separately.
Can You File for Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?
Bankruptcy law allows married couples to file for bankruptcy individually or jointly. However, just because you can file for bankruptcy jointly does not mean that you have to. It is up to you to decide whether you want to file for bankruptcy with or without your spouse. The decision to file for bankruptcy individually or jointly should not be taken lightly because a bankruptcy filing can have a significant impact on both spouses’ lives and credit scores.
The decision to file for bankruptcy with your spouse has its pros and cons. The advantages of a joint filing include:
It can save you money.
It can save you time.
It can increase exemption amounts.
The disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy with your spouse are:
It can affect both spouses’ credit scores.
It may not eliminate all of the debts.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy but cannot decide between filing individually or jointly, seek legal guidance from a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of your best course of action.
Factors to Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy
When deciding between an individual or joint bankruptcy filing, you should consider a number of factors to determine which option is best for your particular situation:
The types and amount of debt
The property you and your spouse own
What is considered marital and separate property
The effect of bankruptcy on your credit scores
Whether any big purchases will be made by you or your spouse in the foreseeable future
These are not the only factors to consider when filing for bankruptcy. Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to analyze your specific situation and help you determine whether you should file for bankruptcy with or without your spouse.
Facing the Worst? Get the Best Help
The bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. helps people who struggle with debts get their life back on track. Request a consultation today to discuss your unique situation. The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. serves clients in Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia.