Most people assume they can file bankruptcy as a single person, but what about if you’re married? Did you know you can file as an individual even if you’re married?
Your Situation Determines Whether It Is Better to File Jointly or as an Individual:
The decision to file bankruptcy usually has more to do with the location of your home residence, and the property you own than who owes debt to who. Even if a spouse doesn’t want to file, and you are considering filing bankruptcy as an individual, the first step is to consider the household’s overall debt and asset picture (for both spouses).
Determining How to File Bankruptcy as a Married Individual: Who Owns the Property?
When a couple marries, there can be some confusion about who actually owns the property. When you get married, you don’t automatically become a co-owner of any property your new spouse owned prior to marriage. That property remains their separate property even if you live in a community property state. The only way to share ownership of property that a spouse owned prior to marriage is for the spouse who owned the property to give you joint ownership (deed, establish, transfer, or assign depending on the type of property).
Is Tennessee a Community Property State? What About Georgia?
No, Tennessee is not a community property state. Georgia is not a community property state either. Both Tennessee and Georgia are Common Law States, so property acquired during the marriage solely belongs only to the person who bought the property. The property does not automatically become part of the couple’s joint “community” property.
Determine Who Owes What Debt:
There can be a lot of confusion between married couples about who owns what property and the closely connected issue of who owes what debt. Just like the issue of property, marrying someone does not mean you automatically assume joint ownership of their debts that existed prior to the marriage. You are responsible for any debt you entered into on your own or that you enter jointly with your partner (whether you’re married or not).
Make a List:
Make a list of all property and debts associated with you, your spouse, and both you and your spouse. Determining who owns what and who owes what is the determining factor when it comes to deciding whether a married person should file bankruptcy individually or jointly with their spouse. .
If you need to file bankruptcy and you have questions about whether you should file jointly or individually, call Kenneth C. Rannick P.C., Tennessee, and Georgia bankruptcy attorney. We help good people through bad times.