If you are considering filing bankruptcy as a married person, you may be
wondering whether it is more advisable to file alone or jointly, with
your spouse. This blog post will cover both options and explain the
benefits of both. Speak with a
Beaumont bankruptcy attorney if you have questions.
What Are My Options?
You have two options:
- Joint petition
- Single petition
Pros & Cons of Joint Petitions / Single Petitions
If you file bankruptcy in a joint petition, all of your assets and debts
will be included in the proceedings. These are some factors to take into
account when making your decision:
Credit scores – Both of your credit reports will be adversely impacted if you
file a joint bankruptcy petition. In a single petition, only the filer
will see a negative affect on his / her credit score. This can be helpful
as you and your spouse rebuild your finances together. However, by taking
the right steps and obtaining good legal and financial counsel, you can
both rebuild your credit scores quickly should you decide to file a joint petition.
Filing fees & legal fees – Remember that you will be paying filing fees in your bankruptcy,
and you may also be paying legal fees to an attorney you hire to help
you through the bankruptcy process. If you file a single petition now
and your spouse ends up filing later, those fees will be considerably
higher than they if you had filed a joint petition.
Dischargeable debts – In a joint bankruptcy petition, both the debts and the assets owned
by you and your spouse are combined. This means that all dischargeable
debts owned by you as a couple can be discharged. If one spouse does not
file bankruptcy, he / she becomes singularly responsible for all of the
debts incurred by you as a couple. If most of your debts are individual
debts, this may not be a problem. If most of your debts are joint debts,
it may be wise to file a joint petition to ensure they are effectively
Exempted property – In a joint bankruptcy, all your assets and property are included,
both marital property and separate property. In a single petition, the
separate property owned by the non-filing spouse is not included. If one
spouse has a high amount of separate property that would not be considered
exempt, it may be wise to file a single petition. There are some special
considerations, which you should ask your attorney about.
Wondering if you
need a bankruptcy attorney? Call Steven Packard, Attorney at Law to get answers to
frequently asked questions about
Chapter 13, and other options.