More often than not, married spouses share joint debts. But there are cases where only one spouse has debts. That is why the question “Can I file for bankruptcy by myself if I’m married?” pops up every once in a while.
In short, the answer to the question is: Yes, you can file for bankruptcy alone even if you are married, but if you have joint debts, your spouse will still be liable for it. “In fact, filing for bankruptcy with your spouse is beneficial in most situations, as you will be able to double your bankruptcy exemptions,” advises our Salt Lake City chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney at Justin M. Myers, Attorney-at-Law, LLC.
So is it even possible to have only one spouse file for bankruptcy in Utah? Sure, but only as long as only one spouse has debts. Moreover, if one of the spouses has debts that are not dischargeable, then only one spouse filing for bankruptcy would be a much better solution.
However, in situations where one spouse discharged the debt that was joint, the fact that the debt was discharged may still appear on the other spouse’s credit report.
The benefits of filing for bankruptcy individually
In other words, spouses in Utah have the freedom to file for bankruptcy either together or individually. “But why would spouses want to file for bankruptcy by themselves, without involving their spouse?” some of you might wonder.
Let’s imagine that you and your spouse are planning to buy a house in the foreseeable future, but have debts that could damage your credit score. Thus, you choose to file for bankruptcy alone because you are smart and are thinking ahead. Filing individually will help you prevent doing damage to your spouse’s credit score so you will be able to put the new house in your spouse’s name.
The benefits of filing for bankruptcy jointly
More often than not, however, our experienced chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Salt Lake City advises married couples to file together, because there are quite a few benefits of filing for bankruptcy jointly. It might not sound like a big deal to some, but by filing jointly, you can pay just one filing fee and one fee for the legal assistance from a bankruptcy attorney.
Still, if you are planning to buy a house or car, start your own business, or engage in any other financially risky activity in the next five or seven years, it might be a good idea to consult with a Salt Lake City bankruptcy attorney to find out how filing for bankruptcy individually or jointly could affect you and your spouse in the long term.
Things to consider when filing for bankruptcy individually vs. jointly
Did you know that filing for bankruptcy individually when you and your spouse share joint debts, the debts that are in both of your names, would not cause the court to discharge the debts from your spouse. Meaning: even after bankruptcy discharged the debts from you after filing individually, the creditors might still bother your spouse to return the money owed.
Another thing to consider when choosing between filing for bankruptcy individually or jointly with your spouse is that your spouse’s income counts even if he or she is not filing with you. You and your spouse’s income plays a vital role in determining whether you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Do not hesitate to consult with a Salt Lake City chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney to speak about your particular situation. Contact Justin M. Myers, Attorney-at-Law, LLC, to get a free consultation today. Call our offices at 1-801-505-9679.