Thinking About Filing a Joint Bankruptcy?
First, let’s be clear that only legally married people can file for joint bankruptcy. Same sex couples are gaining some ground in this arena, but they cannot have a civil union, they too have to have a legal marriage to be able to file joint bankruptcy.
While married couples have the option of filing together in a joint bankruptcy petition or individually, filing together is often the smarter move since there are fees associated with each bankruptcy, attorney costs, and court expenses. Also since money and assets are often co-mingled for married couples it is hard to separate the debt and assets. It’s important to consider a joint filing when you’ve added each other as joint cardholders or cosigners on any debt. When you don’t file together the other spouse becomes fully responsible for these debts.
By filing a joint bankruptcy most debt will be eliminated and the debtor cannot come after the other individual as they could if only one person filed. The joint bankruptcy will also clear most debts, for both spouses. This can be a big benefit if both parties are having trouble keeping up with their bills. A couple that has two incomes may want to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy . When they have the joint income it makes it easier to qualify for a Chapter 13 as opposed to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where some assets could be seized.
When one party is not in a financial bind and the other is, then it’s best to speak to a bankruptcy attorney to review your individual situation.