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Bankruptcy And Your Spouse

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For better or for worse, for richer or poorer – how often are these words spoken without any thought that any of these situations could actually arise someday? When married couples are having financial issues, and bankruptcy becomes a real possibility, the question of how to proceed naturally arises. Do I file for bankruptcy on my own or do my spouse and I file for bankruptcy together? This question is one that does not always have an easy answer – and as is often the case with any legal matter, the answer may very well be that ‘it depends.

Filing On Your Own

In some cases, even though you are married, all of the debt may be in just one spouse’s name. In a case such as this, it may make more sense for just that spouse to file for bankruptcy. If you choose to file for bankruptcy on your own, the credit rating of your spouse should not be affected. However, your spouse would not have any of the protections one gets when filing for bankruptcy. For example, your spouse will not be relieved of any liability for debt, and will not receive a discharge of any debts. Additionally, if any property or assets are held jointly, they could be sold to pay joint debtors. If property is held by both spouses as a tenancy by the entirety, this may influence your decision about how to file your bankruptcy.

Filing With Your Spouse

There are some times when it may make more sense to file for bankruptcy with your spouse than on your own. Choosing which option is more advantageous depends upon the types of assets and debts a married couple owns and owes. Some marital debts, such as medical bills, may be the obligation of both spouses. One advantage of filing jointly is that the exemptions allowed under Indiana law will be higher. A second advantage of filing for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse is that there is only one filing fee when filing jointly. In a situation where one spouse files for bankruptcy and the other does not, but then later the second spouse does end up filing separately, the filing fees would be double. So, in cases where there is a good possibility that both spouses will end up filing, it may be best to file together from the beginning.

Get Professional Advice Today

If you are facing the possibility of a bankruptcy, turn to Whitten & Whitten for reliable guidance about whether it is right for you and how to proceed. If you are married, we can help you to decide whether it is more appropriate to file on your own or with your spouse. Contact us online or call us at 219.756.0555 for your free consultation. We can answer all your questions about the best way to proceed to get your situation back under control and to get your financial future back on the right track.

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