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When to Consider Filing a Joint Bankruptcy Petition

Posted By Allmand Law Firm, PLLC || 23-Jul-2013

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.


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