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Can just one spouse go through bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Bankruptcy

When you and your spouse got married, you carried a lot of debt with you. You had a good job, though, so you felt it was find to have that debt and that you’d be able to pay it down over time.

When you suddenly lost your job and couldn’t find a new one paying as much as you’d earned in the past, you found yourself struggling to make ends meet. Even with your spouse’s help, your debts were overwhelming you.

One thing you considered doing was going into bankruptcy, but you didn’t want to do that if it would negatively impact your spouse. Fortunately, you can go into bankruptcy on your own. As long as you don’t have shared accounts, your spouse may not be affected at all.

Married people can file for bankruptcy together or separately

Many people mistakenly believe that you cannot file for bankruptcy on your own if you’re married. The reality is that you can. If you have debts from before your marriage as well as those that are not shared, then you should be able to file for bankruptcy without it affecting your non-filing spouse.

It may make sense to file for bankruptcy on your own if:

  • Your finances are separate from your spouse’s
  • Your spouse has good credit while you do not
  • Your spouse hasn’t cosigned onto your debts
  • You don’t want to limit your spouse’s opportunity to file for bankruptcy in the future
  • Your spouse may receive bonuses or other financial gains that would hinder the bankruptcy
  • You want your spouse’s credit score to remain positive

If you and your spouse share debts, it will be harder to file for bankruptcy alone. In that case, it’s possible that you could hurt their credit score even if you do file alone, because your spouse won’t be protected against debt collectors coming after their half of the debt.

If you’re not sure what to do, it’s worth looking into Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcies and talking to your spouse about their opinion. Depending on your finances and how your debts were acquired, filing separately may be the right choice for you.