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Filing Bankruptcy with a Spouse

There are advantages and disadvantages to filing jointly with your spouse.  A skilled Atlanta, GA bankruptcy attorney can help you which path best suits your financial circumstances.

In a joint bankruptcy, both spouses file one set of papers providing information on all of the property, debt, income and expenses that you share in common as well as what you hold separately. The benefits of filing jointly include:

  • Saving on filing fees, legal fees and legal costs, as well as opportunity expenses such as lost wages for two sets of meeting and hearings
  • Wiping out all the debts held in common plus each spouse’s individual debts  
  • Efficiencies in only having to gather all the documents once
  • Saving time and money when both spouses do crediting counseling together
  • In Georgia, doubling your exemption amounts for property held jointly

You may not be able to file jointly if one spouse filed bankruptcy as an individual in the past and the mandatory time has not elapsed.

Filing jointly may not be a good idea in some situations.  If one spouse owns extensive property, this may raise the value beyond what is exempted in Georgia.  If one spouse holds significant debt or has debts that are not dischargeable, filing separately protects the other spouse’s credit record. For Chapter 13, you may choose to file separately if one spouse has non-dischargeable priority debts or domestic support obligations. However, if you have joint debt and only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the other spouse is not exempted from paying their share of the debt.

Deciding to file bankruptcy as a couple is a serious decision with long-term consequences. A capable bankruptcy attorney can help you make an informed decision about the best course of action for both of you. Call DebtStoppers  today to schedule a free initial consultation to review your options.