If you are considering filing bankruptcy, contact us today for a free consultation. For more answers to frequently asked questions, please see our massive resource here: Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer.
Does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy too if I file?
When a person who is married files for bankruptcy in California, he or she can either file jointly with their spouse, or an individual filing can be made. Joint petitions filed under the names of both husband and wife aren’t at all unusual. They also help keep the court costs down as only one filing fee is due rather than two.
One spouse filing
Sometimes one spouse to a marriage incurs substantial individual debt, and he or she is unable to repay it while the other spouse is unaffected. Bankruptcy becomes a viable alternative to the spouse who is deeply in debt. The law doesn’t require the unaffected spouse to join in the petition, but if it’s a joint debt, the spouse who didn’t file for bankruptcy is likely to remain solely responsible for that debt.
Your spouse’s income might matter
If you’re married, and you file a bankruptcy petition solely for yourself, you’ll still need to provide information about your spouse’s income and assets. The bankruptcy court needs to see that information to determine whether your bankruptcy case should be pursuant to Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you don’t pass the means test for Chapter 7, you’ll be required to file under Chapter 13. Your spouse’s income will figure into the Chapter 13 repayment plan formula.
The non-filing spouse’s credit report
If one of you files for bankruptcy, and the other doesn’t, the petition is going to show on the filing spouse’s credit report. It shouldn’t be shown on the non-filing spouse’s report. If it does, it should be brought to the immediate attention of the credit reporting agency. A spouse who doesn’t participate in a filing shouldn’t have his or her credit affected. If both of you jointly apply for credit in the future, the application can be denied because of the filing.
Contact a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer today
Every family’s financial situation is unique, so we’ll help you make a decision on what alternative might be best for you. Whether you file separately or jointly, the bankruptcy court’s automatic stay will relieve considerable pressure and give you room to breathe. You’ll be protected by the bankruptcy court. Feel free to contact us by phone or email for a confidential consultation.
We assist people with bankruptcy in the following areas and counties of California:
- Los Angeles County
- San Fernando Valley
- Orange County
- San Bernardino County
- Riverside County
- Ventura County
- Santa Barbara County