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I’m Married – Does My Spouse Have to File for Bankruptcy When I Do?  



Many Virginia families have made the decision to file for bankruptcy in order to become more financially fit in 2015.  For most families, filing for bankruptcy allows them to emerge with a clean financial slate and decreased (or entirely eliminated) monthly debt obligations that will allow them to get back on their feet after the recent trying economic times.

Filing for bankruptcy is a very serious decision because doing so will have long-lasting consequences for the family – the person who files the bankruptcy make experience a drop in his/her creditor score, it may become more difficult for the family to secure a mortgage or credit cards in the future, etc.  Because of these potential consequences, if a person is considering filing for bankruptcy and that person is married, it is very important for the person to discuss the bankruptcy with the spouse to ensure that the couple can mutually decide on what is best for the family.  Read on to learn more about filing for bankruptcy when you are married.

I’m Married – Can My Spouse File for Bankruptcy Too?

Many Virginian couples find themselves in the situation where it is appropriate for both of them to file for bankruptcy.  To accommodate these scenarios, the bankruptcy law lets couples file their bankruptcy application together through a process called “joint bankruptcy.”  In order to file a joint bankruptcy, the couple files one petition with the court and this petition informs the court of the couple’s combined assets and debts.

One of the major benefits of a joint bankruptcy filing is that it saves money.  The couple only has to pay one set of filing fees to the bankruptcy court because they are only filing one petition.  Additionally, the couple will only need to attend one bankruptcy-related court-ordered meeting (called the 341 meeting) and will only be required to submit one set of documents to the bankruptcy court.

(However, a joint bankruptcy may not be the right decision for you and your family, depending on your personal circumstances.  To learn more about all of your bankruptcy options, and which one is best for you, contact our office today to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.)

I’m Married but My Spouse Does Not Want to File Bankruptcy

There are some cases where it does not make sense for both spouses to file a joint bankruptcy.  The law does not require married couples to file jointly so it is possible for just one spouse to file a single petition with the bankruptcy court.  Filing a single petition may be the better option for several reasons.  For instance, a joint filing is shown on both spouses’ credit reports whereas the single bankruptcy filing of one spouse will not appear on the credit report of the other.

However, even if only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the court will look to the income of both spouses – shared or not – when making certain determinations for bankruptcy purposes.  For example, a wife’s income could be taken into consideration when determining her husband’s eligibility for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy).

At the Callan Law Firm, P.C., we have helped many families through their difficult financial times, and we understand all of the considerations that must be taken into account when helping a family decide whether to – and how to – complete the bankruptcy process.  Contact our office today to learn more about how bankruptcy may help you and your family.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website should not be construed as a legal advice or representation by the Callan Law Firm, P.C..  Any use of this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship between the user and the Law Firm. We do not accept any professional responsibility for a case unless there is a retainer signed by both parties (Law Firm and client).