3 Things To Know If You Are Filing Bankruptcy Alone While Married

Bankruptcy is something you can file if you need serious help getting out of debt, and it is something you can do alone or with your spouse. Married couples do not have to both file, if just one needs relief; however, there are three important things you should know if you are considering filing alone while you are married.

Both Incomes Must Be Included

The branch of bankruptcy you file will be dependent upon your income. People with lower incomes will qualify for Chapter 7, which is the branch that does not require you to repay debts. People with higher income will qualify for Chapter 13, which is the branch that does require a repayment plan.

The important thing to know is that the income from you and your spouse will count when you complete the test to find out which branch you qualify for. Qualifying for Chapter 7 is the preferred option in most cases, but adding up both of your incomes may push you beyond the limits for this.

Joint Debts Will Not Be Fully Discharged

The second thing to understand is that you are free to file alone and include all the debts you have; however, any joint-owned debts between you and your spouse will not fully be discharged. The bankruptcy might discharge them from you, which means you will not be responsible for them, but this will not get your spouse off the hook. If your spouse's name is on any of the debts, he or she will still have to pay for them after you file bankruptcy.

The Property Of Both Spouses Must Be Disclosed

The other important thing you should know is that the court will want to know about all the assets and property you both own, and this typically does not matter whose name the assets are in. If they are in your name, your spouse's name, or in both names, you will have to include them when you fill out your paperwork. This means that there is a chance your spouse will lose his or her assets if you file for bankruptcy, even if your spouse has nothing to do with your financial problems.

There are times when filing bankruptcy alone can be beneficial for a spouse, but there are other times when filing jointly is a better option. To find out which option is right for your situation, contact a bankruptcy lawyer, like O'Connor Mikita & Davidson LLC, today.