When there are consistently more months with expenses then earned income and your financial situation continues to deteriorate due to a job loss, medical bills, or consumer debt, it may be time to consider your legal alternatives. Among these options available is bankruptcy for married couples.
If you are married and filing for bankruptcy there are three factors to consider:
- Will you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Where your debts are discharged.
- Will you file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Where you will have a repayment plan in place.
- Will you both file for bankruptcy protection?
The decision to file for bankruptcy is a serious one that requires the experience and guidance of a Baltimore Bankruptcy attorney that can guide you through the entire process. An experienced Baltimore Bankruptcy attorney can explain your bankruptcy options, stop creditors from calling, and handle the legal matters so that you can focus on getting your financial life back in order. But before you do anything else you must first understand how bankruptcy for married couples works.
When a married couple files for bankruptcy do they have to file jointly?
There is no requirement that a married couple must file for bankruptcy jointly. So in the event that one spouse holds assets independent of a spouse that needs debt relief, it may be best for that individual to file for bankruptcy alone.
Before doing so it is important that you consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The reason being is that if the court determines that you acted in bad faith, for example by falsely claiming some of your assets belong solely to your spouse, you could face serious consequences.
Filing Separately vs Joint Filing Factors
Here are some reasons you might consider filing for bankruptcy alone.
- A previous bankruptcy: your spouse has already filed for bankruptcy in the past eight years and is barred from filing another.
- Debt Allocation: you have a higher amount of debt that isn’t “material” debt
- Credit Record Protection: If the debts aren’t material and haven’t been co-signed by your spouse, the non-filing spouse’s credit record can be protected.
- Asset Protection: your spouse owns assets that shouldn’t be sold to pay your debts.
Reasons you may want to file for bankruptcy as a couple
- Exemptions increase: under bankruptcy statutes, you and your spouse are each allowed a full set of exemptions.
- Cosigned Loans: your bankruptcy won’t discharge your spouse’s obligations on loans that are co-signed.
- Marital Debt: the vast majority of your debt is marital so both spouses need debt relief and a fresh start.
Consult with an experienced Baltimore Bankruptcy Attorney
The burden of overwhelming debt can be too much for anyone to handle. That is where we come in to help. At The Law Offices of Nicholas J. Del Pizzo, III P.A.in Baltimore, our knowledge of and experience with bankruptcy law can help you get that fresh start by wiping out your debts, reorganizing your finances or saving your home. Contact The Law Offices of Nicholas J Del Pizzo today for a free consultation.