Filing a Joint Bankruptcy Petition
When a married couple files for bankruptcy protection they would file a joint bankruptcy petition. In many cases, filing jointly has helped married couples save time and money during the process. While the process is similar to an individual bankruptcy filing, there are a few details to keep in mind when considering filing a joint petition.
The process includes filing a single set of paperwork that includes financial details of both spouses. This may include outstanding debt, property & assets and expenses. Debt that is shared by both spouses is often included in the filing. This is debt that has the name of both spouses; meaning each party is responsible for the balance owed. You may also need to list debt that is owed by one spouse.
A joint petition allows dischargeable debt from both spouses to be eliminated in one filing. Yet, this option is beneficial for those with qualifying debt. The situation may vary if debt is owed by one spouse only. A joint filing may also affect property owned by the couple. In most cases, the value of your assets can be protected by the exemptions available through bankruptcy. Some states may allow you to double exemptions depending on the property in question, but you and your spouse should be property owners.
Joint filing helps reduce bankruptcy filing costs since you'll pay for one bankruptcy filing instead of 2 separate cases. Qualifying debt is eliminated for both spouses but if one spouse files for protection, the other spouse could be pursued for payment.