If you are considering filing bankruptcy as a married person, you may be wondering whether it is more advisable to file alone or jointly, with your spouse. This blog post will cover both options and explain the benefits of both. Speak with a Beaumont bankruptcy attorney if you have questions.
What Are My Options?
You have two options:
- Joint petition
- Single petition
Pros & Cons of Joint Petitions / Single Petitions
If you file bankruptcy in a joint petition, all of your assets and debts will be included in the proceedings. These are some factors to take into account when making your decision:
- Credit scores – Both of your credit reports will be adversely impacted if you file a joint bankruptcy petition. In a single petition, only the filer will see a negative affect on his / her credit score. This can be helpful as you and your spouse rebuild your finances together. However, by taking the right steps and obtaining good legal and financial counsel, you can both rebuild your credit scores quickly should you decide to file a joint petition.
- Filing fees & legal fees – Remember that you will be paying filing fees in your bankruptcy, and you may also be paying legal fees to an attorney you hire to help you through the bankruptcy process. If you file a single petition now and your spouse ends up filing later, those fees will be considerably higher than they if you had filed a joint petition.
- Dischargeable debts – In a joint bankruptcy petition, both the debts and the assets owned by you and your spouse are combined. This means that all dischargeable debts owned by you as a couple can be discharged. If one spouse does not file bankruptcy, he / she becomes singularly responsible for all of the debts incurred by you as a couple. If most of your debts are individual debts, this may not be a problem. If most of your debts are joint debts, it may be wise to file a joint petition to ensure they are effectively discharged.
- Exempted property – In a joint bankruptcy, all your assets and property are included, both marital property and separate property. In a single petition, the separate property owned by the non-filing spouse is not included. If one spouse has a high amount of separate property that would not be considered exempt, it may be wise to file a single petition. There are some special considerations, which you should ask your attorney about.