Are you married and filing bankruptcy? If so, you’ll need to decide if you are filing jointly or separately. It’s an important decision. It could affect how much of your debt is discharged and how much of your property you keep after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
When Should Married Couples File Joint Bankruptcy?
When a married couple files bankruptcy jointly, all property of both spouses and all debt of both spouses are part of the bankruptcy estate. If both individuals face debt trouble, filing jointly means all the information in one set of documents, one filing fee instead of two, and one legal fee instead of two legal fees. Married couples are not required to file a joint bankruptcy petitioner, but in most cases, it is the better option.
When Should Married Couples Not File Joint Bankruptcy?
While it is usually advisable for a married couple to file a joint Tennessee or Georgia bankruptcy petition, it could be a good idea to file independently if the non-filing spouse has little or no debt. For example, if John and Samantha are married and live in Tennessee, and John has massive credit card debt as a result of a past health issue, but Samantha has only one small line of credit that she uses rarely and has always paid off on time, it may not make sense for them to file a joint bankruptcy. In this type of scenario, it is often advantageous if only the spouse with a significant amount of debt files bankruptcy.
Additional Considerations When Thinking About Filing Jointly or Separately:
When considering whether or not you should file a joint bankruptcy petition or not, you should also consider other essential factors. Think about your savings, plans for retirement, any plans or savings you have for your children’s future education, or other future goals. If only one spouse files bankruptcy, and the other spouse has debt that remains to be paid, savings contributions may be left in danger. While many assume the best idea is to keep one spouse out of it entirely, it often ends up with the non-filing spouse filing at a later date, resulting in additional fees and court costs.
Do you have questions about bankruptcy law and how to file bankruptcy? The experienced Tennessee and Georgia bankruptcy attorneys at Kenneth C. Rannick P.C. can help. We help good people through bad times every day, and we can help you, too.