On Saturday morning I met with numerous clients including a married couple who was unsure of their bankruptcy options.  The majority of the debt was only the responsibility of the wife, because the debt accrued prior to their marriage.  The couple’s first question to me was whether or not they could keep the husband out of the bankruptcy as he was not responsible for a lot of the wife’s debts.   The answer to that question is YES, it is possible for only one spouse to file for bankruptcy while keeping the other spouse out.

Married couples have the following options when filing for bankruptcy:

Filing Jointly

When a married couple files jointly all the debts of the husband and all the debts of the wife are included, no matter if those debts were joint debts or not.  The best part about this is there is no additional fee to included both spouses in the bankruptcy (i.e. you don’t have to pay twice).  The joint filing of a bankruptcy will allow both spouses to discharge their debts and obtain a fresh start in a short period of time.

Filing Alone

Like in the case above, only one spouse has the debts and the other spouse “married into” the debt of the other.  The best option would be to only file the bankruptcy of the impaired spouse and leave the other one out of bankruptcy.

There are numerous complexities involved when deciding whether to file jointly or alone and this decision should not be made without consulting an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  To schedule an appointment with Ofer Shmucher of Shmucher Law, PL please contact our office at 954.309.5559 or 305.741.5553 we would be glad to meet with you and offer you a free consultation.