29th Sep 2014

Foley Bankruptcy AttorneyNo, you may file without your spouse.

Joint debts

Generally, marriage alone doesn’t make both spouses personally liable for a debt. Liability on contracts such as home loans and credit cards arises by agreement between the creditor and the debtor. Only persons who signed the loan or credit application are liable for the debt.

A joint tax return, however, makes both spouses liable for the total of the tax due.

If you have joint debts, the bankruptcy may be included on the credit report of the non filing spouse.

Joint property

If you and your spouse own property together, that property may be included in the bankruptcy estate and be potentially available to pay creditors. So the filing of one spouse could have significant impact on the other.

A bankruptcy filing by one spouse does not automatically include the non-filing spouse in the bankruptcy.

Chapter 7

If a debt is a joint debt of the two spouses, the non-filing spouse is not afforded the protection of the automatic stay (preventing creditors from collection attempts on the debt) or the bankruptcy discharge (eliminating the filing spouse’s personal liability on the debt).

Chapter 13

If a debt is a joint debt of the two spouses, the non-filing spouse is not afforded the protection of the automatic stay (preventing creditors from collection attempts on the debt) or the bankruptcy discharge (eliminating the filing spouse’s personal liability on the debt) unless the debt is a consumer debt to be paid 100% through the Chapter 13 plan. If the debt is a consumer debt to be paid 100% through the Chapter 13 plan, the co-debtor is protected by a codebtor stay.

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