Another common question I receive from clients is if I am married does my spouse in Florida have to file too? The answer to that question, like most other legal questions, is that it depends on your current situation. The simple answer is no, married couples are not required to file together and a spouse could choose not to file. However sometimes it might be wise for married couples to file together, it all comes down to whose debt is it.
If all the debt is in one spouses name alone and the other spouse is not liable for any of that debt then it would be wise that only the person who has all the debt file. For example if a client’s home, in say Miami or Fort Lauderdale, was recently foreclosed and only his name was on the mortgage then there is no need for the client’s spouse to file because his or her name is not on the mortgage debt.
However more likely than not both spouses are responsible for the debt. When you get your credit card statement and both names are on the outside then both spouses are responsible for the debt, same goes for mortgages, medical bills judgments, etc.
What if only one spouse files for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy and the debt is in both names? Example husband and wife have a credit card in both their names with an outstanding debt of $50,000. In this case only the husband files for bankruptcy. By filing for bankruptcy the husband eliminates his liability towards that debt but the wife is now 100% responsible for the debt amount.
Sometimes debtors have to decide whether or not to file jointly. If you are unsure whether or not to file bankruptcy jointly and would like to speak to managing partner Ofer Shmucher of Shmucher Law, PL, then contact us to schedule your free consultation in one of our five conveniently located offices throughout the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas in Florida.