Filing For Bankruptcy In Divorce

Many couples wonder whether both spouses have to file bankruptcy together, or if just one can file alone. At Nowack & Olson, we use more than 30 years of combined experience to help our married and divorcing clients understand their rights and obligations in bankruptcy proceedings.

Technically, there is no law requiring that married couples file together. However, the rules and administrative facts of bankruptcy can make it very difficult for a married person to file alone.

There are several things to keep in mind when considering filing bankruptcy as a married person:

  • Your spouse's income will be attributed to you – even if you file as an individual and your spouse refuses to make that income available to you. This can make it more difficult to qualify for bankruptcy, particularly Chapter 7, which has a strict limit on income.
  • Often, filing together is less expensive. If the second spouse ends up having to file down the road, you will have basically doubled your costs.
  • Filing with your spouse can help you save property like your home or car. Having joint filers allows you to double the number of exemptions you use for property. If your equity in your home is greater than the amount of the exemption, for example, your spouse may apply an exemption as well and cover the equity so you can keep it.
  • Lastly, filing without your spouse may raise suspicion from the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee. While it is technically within the law, it is unusual for a married person to file alone. This can lead to extra hassle and scrutiny in your bankruptcy matter.

Of course, each bankruptcy case is unique. In some cases, it may be completely appropriate to file without your spouse – particularly if he or she has no debt or liability. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney, like the professionals of Nowack & Olson, can help you assess your situation and make the best decision for your future.

Please contact us online or call 888-813-4737 to learn more and arrange an initial consultation at no cost. From our offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach, our lawyers represent people throughout South Florida.