Filing for bankruptcy is a daunting process. Throw a marriage into the mix and it can feel extremely complicated. Many people wonder if filing for bankruptcy is possible without bringing their spouses into the issue. The short answer is yes, but the thorough answer is to discuss it with your attorney.
The attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. are trained in handling problematic situations such as these. If you are planning to file for bankruptcy without your spouse, keep these three key steps in mind:
1. Consider joint debts vs. individual debts
Be sure to review your marital property with your spouse. If you and your spouse have joint bank accounts and mostly shared assets, those of which are contributing factors to your bankruptcy, then filing separately might not actually help. Even if you file bankruptcy on your own, your spouse will still be held responsible for his or her shares of the joint assets. If your individual debts far outweigh your joint debts, however, it is a good idea to file separately.
2. Determine which bankruptcy chapter you will file
There is a variety of bankruptcy chapters but as an individual, you will most likely choose between two when you file: chapter 7 or chapter 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most of your obligations and you keep property that is exempt.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization. You can utilize it in order to lengthen your time of payment for your debts and effectively reduce the amounts each payment is worth.
Chapters 7 and 13 both require spouses to file these four pieces of information together: (1) a list of creditors with the amounts and nature of their claims, (2) source, amount and frequency of your income, (3) a list of all your property and (4) a detailed list of your monthly living expenses such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, taxes and more. According to the United States Courts official government website, “married individuals must gather this information for their spouse regardless of whether they are filing a joint petition, separate individual petitions, or even if only one spouse is filing.”
3. Consult with an attorney
When considering filing for bankruptcy – especially as an individual without your spouse – it is beneficial to discuss your courses of action with a professional. Your attorney will help you examine all the possible outcomes of your decision and offer sound advice on how you should go about filing for bankruptcy.
If you are filing for individual bankruptcy, you are not alone. The lawyers at McIntyre Law Firm are determined and ready to strategize and give you guidance during this time. Call our office at (844)511-4800 to make an appointment with one of our lawyers and get a head start on solving your bankruptcy claims.