Can Unmarried Couples File Joint Bankruptcy?
Couples who aren't married, even those who have legally recognized civil unions, cannot file bankruptcy even if their debt was jointly incurred.
Bankruptcies fall under federal jurisdiction and are not filed in the state in which you reside, so federal laws apply to bankruptcy cases. This is why civil unions are not recognized, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act prevails here. But the government has made some steps to keep up with changes in society by allowing same sex people who qualify as legally married in their home states to file for bankruptcy. This change just came about in July of 2011.
For all other couples, those who aren't married, filing a joint bankruptcy is out of the question. This means that there are some benefits and pitfalls to being a non married couple and in a bankruptcy situation.
The biggest downfall is that you'll each have to pay filing and legal fees, it's basically double the expenses in this arena. It can also get messy when trying to divide the property as its pretty cut in dry in most states what is considered communal, while non married couples have a harder time dividing assets.
Advantages For Not Being Married
But there are some advantages to not being married. Perhaps only one half of the couple is struggling with financial debt, this means the other member gets to avoid the bankruptcy, protect their credit rating and possibly retain some of the possessions or pass some debt along to one or the other.
Unmarried People Who Want to File Bankruptcy
This is a complicated situation, unmarried people who want to file bankruptcy should first contact a bankruptcy attorney to get the best deal possible. If you would like to set up a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy attorneys give us a call or contact us today.