File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

Question: File bankruptcy without your Spouse filing?

Can someone file bankruptcy without your Spouse? I’m married, but don’t want my spouse involved. I have acquired approx $25,000 in credit card debt. Some debt was made prior to getting married and some after. We were married 3 years ago. I want to file bankruptcy in my name only without including my husband and debts in his name.

File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?Answer to question, “Can you file bankruptcy without your Spouse?”

This is a popular question that many people ask. The short answer is you can file bankruptcy without your spouse. That is, filing a single case by yourself even though you are married. The bankruptcy law does not require that both spouses shall file a case together.

Whether or not you personally should file bankruptcy without your spouse is another matter. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer should help you decide what to do.

However, filing just by yourself does not mean that your husband is guaranteed to be unaffected. It just means that he would not be the person who filed the bankruptcy case.

File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?The other party may be affected if you file bankruptcy without your spouse

For example, if you and your spouse have established any kind of joint credit together, (department store, car loan, credit card, etc.), such credit may be affected. For example, there could be an adverse notation on your spouse’s credit report concerning that particular account even your spouse still pays for it.

If you file and you are able to reaffirm the debt, it might allow him to avoid such an unfavorable notation. If you and he have established any kind of joint asset ownership, that too may be affected, (especially real property). The court will also consider your total household income and how you and your spouse are spending it in deciding whether your case should be accepted.

Finally, if you are married, the bankruptcy paper work requires you to divulge your spouse’s name and income, even if the spouse does not file with you.

Best Time to File BankruptcyPlease consult right away with an experienced attorney specializing in bankruptcy so that all of the necessary considerations can be examined.

Don’t be afraid to do that. Most of us BK lawyers offer a completely free consultation. The new laws have made bankruptcy even more complex than it ever was. The good news is that most people who need bankruptcy relief can still obtain it, it just takes more work.

I am wondering about something you said. You ask, “Can I file bankruptcy in my name only with out including my husband and debts in his name?” None of the money that will go to pay his debts is money that will ever be spent for your common benefit. How does that benefit you and your marriage? (If he has just a trivial amount of bills, then I would certainly understand leaving him out.)

Best Time to File BankruptcyHowever your spouse has anywhere near the debt load that you carry, it could be a mistake to think that you are preserving his credit by sacrificing yours.

A person carrying an inappropriate level of debt is usually never going to be a good candidate for new credit. That person can probably forget about borrowing money to buy a home, until they have paid their debts down to a reasonable level.



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Leon Bayer and Jeffrey Wishman are Los Angeles Bankruptcy attorneys. They have been practicing bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles for 37 years and are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists by the State Bar of California. These are lawyers who bring experience, skill and creativity to the highly complex area of bankruptcy law. At this Los Angeles law firm, the your initial consultation with an expert is free. Mr. Bayer is a coauthor of Nolo's The New Bankruptcy: Will It Work for You?, authors the “Ask Leon” series on Nolo’s Bankruptcy, Debt & Foreclosure blog, and writes on bankruptcy topics for Nolo’s website. In addition, Mr. Bayer devotes a significant number of hours to volunteer legal services. The State Bar of California has commended Mr. Bayer for this work every year since 2004.