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  4.  | 3 Things You Must Know If You Are Married but Want to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse

3 Things You Must Know If You Are Married but Want to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Bankruptcy Basics, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

You Can File Bankruptcy Individually Even if Married
It is a common misconception that both spouses must file bankruptcy together. Married couples can choose whether to file for bankruptcy together or individually. If, however, both spouses want to file for bankruptcy, it is usually better to file jointly. By filing jointly, you can pay just one filing fee and one attorney fee.

The Non-Filing Spouse Remains Liable on Joint Debts
Joint debts are those that are in the names of both spouses. They are called joint debts because both spouses owe the money. If you and your spouse have joint debts, it is important to know that the non-filing spouse still owes the money on their own debts and any joint debts. The bankruptcy discharge only applies to the filing spouse. In other words, the creditor can pursue the non-filing spouse for the monies owed on their own debts as well as any joint debts.

Your Spouse’s Income Counts
Your spouse’s income is taken into account even if they do not file bankruptcy with you. In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass a “means test.” The means test takes into account the income of both spouses, whether or not they file together. You should therefore bring your pay stubs and your spouse’s pay stubs when you meet with the bankruptcy attorney so they can determine whether you are eligible to file a Chapter 7.

Getting Help

If you have any questions about whether to file bankruptcy alone or with your spouse, you should talk to the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Levitt and Slafkes. Attorney Bruce Levitt or Shelley Slafkes will answer your questions and guide you through the process with care and compassion. Contact our office by telephone at (973) 323-2953 to schedule a free consultation, or contact us online.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information on this website and blogs is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.