Married couples may benefit from filing a joint
bankruptcy petition under certain circumstances. Couples may save money during the
process and gain adequate protection for assets and property between them.
Yet, there are a few details to review in understanding the process and
whether a joint petition is the best option. The process is similar to
an individual filing, except debts, income, expenses, and property shared
between the couple are reported on the petition.
When a joint bankruptcy petition is filed, information for each spouse
is listed. This includes debt obligations you share and may have individually.
Debt obligations for married couples may be handled differently depending
on who is liable for the amount owed. For the most part, you may be eligible
to have debts wiped out or discharged under one filing, instead of two
separate filings. Property owned by the couple is also disclosed. This
may include a home, vehicle, or other related content. Some states may
offer additional protection with exemptions that allow the couple to keep
property from creditors.
So what are factors to think about if you and your spouse are considering
a joint bankruptcy filing? Review your outstanding debt and determine
which ones are eligible for discharge. If you have a considerable amount
of joint debt, it may be worth reviewing a joint petition in further detail with a
bankruptcy expert. If you or your spouse has a considerable amount of individual debt (meaning
one person is liable for what is due), you may want to consider filing
an individual petition.
Keep in mind, if you file an individual petition for joint debt, the other
spouse could be responsible for satisfying the debt. Meaning, creditors
could pursue your spouse for payment if they choose not file for protection.