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Can joint filing be avoided in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you are married and have determined that you must file bankruptcy, your chief concern will probably be your spouse. For example, you may be interested in Chapter 7 and you would like to file as an individual, but you are afraid your spouse might become the target of creditors.

Filing joint bankruptcy would provide certain protections for both of you, but it may not be necessary for your spouse to file.

A look at shared responsibility

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can confirm that as a couple, you do not necessarily share responsibility for all the debt you have. Learning how various debts were accumulated will be the first step in making the decision as to the best way to file. What type of property do you own? What are your sources of income? How much community debt is there? These are the questions to be answered. Your spouse may only be responsible for debt on which his or her name appears, such as a co-signature on a loan or agreement.

Getting rid of unsecured debt

With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your unsecured debt will be discharged. This includes credit card debt, medical bills and loans that are not secured by tangible property or assets. However, any joint debts you and your spouse have must be paid off to avoid any action by creditors.

Although your wish is to protect your spouse from creditor harassment and make sure his or her credit rating is not affected, filing bankruptcy as an individual is a more complicated undertaking when a spouse must be considered. For example, your bankruptcy might eventually show up on your spouse's credit report. There are advantages and drawbacks to both individual and joint filing approaches. Careful consideration of the state laws and the Chapter 7 process can help you decide on the best course of action for you and your spouse to take.

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    Posted by MaryDecember 11, 2015

    "I am overwhelmed by your response to my call, even 10 years after my bankruptcy was discharged. You have more knowledge and expertise than I could have imagined. Because of you, my fears have been put to rest. For that, I'm so very grateful. Thank you many times over. "

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    Posted by ClientOctober 26, 2010

    "... I was extremely impressed with Charles' understanding of the bankruptcy laws to the extent that I felt certain that my best interests were always at the forefront. "

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    Posted by MarleneJanuary 8, 2014

    He helped me thru my 1st bankruptcy and now the second. I had no idea what to expect , but they kept me informed and answered all my questions. Mr. Schneider is the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyer I have ever met. If you have to file call this attorney first!

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