The short answer is yes, one spouse can file for bankruptcy without the other. However, the long answer is that both spouses should file a joint bankruptcy so all marital debts are cleared.
Many clients ask us whether their spouse needs to file bankruptcy with them or not. They think that if only one of them files for bankruptcy they can use the other's credit score to make important purchases like a home or a vehicle. The short answer is yes, one spouse can file for bankruptcy without the other. However, the long answer is that both spouses should file a joint bankruptcy so all marital debts are cleared. There are several reasons why your spouse should file bankruptcy with you but these are the two most important reasons why they should:
- Cost Effective: It costs the same amount of money to file jointly as it does for you to file by yourself. It is the same amount of work to file a bankruptcy with one person as it is to file a bankruptcy with a married couple. The Court also charges the same fee regardless if there is one debtor or two. Therefore it costs the same so might as well "kill two birds with one stone" as they say.
- Marital Debt: If you file bankruptcy by yourself on any debt that your spouse is cosigned on, your spouse will likely become the person the creditors will come after next. For certain debts your spouse doesn’t even need to be a cosigner and can still be held lliable. In Nebraska, if you incur medical debt during the marriage, your spouse is liable for the debt even if the bill only comes in your name. This means that if you are filing on any medical debt, you are going to want to file with your spouse so that creditors cannot try and collect from the non-filing spouse. This is why we advise that you file jointly so the creditors will not be able to go after either of you once you file giving your family a financial "Fresh Start".
The pros outweigh the cons to file bankruptcy jointly with your spouse. If you and your spouse are looking to file bankruptcy please contact our team today to set up a free consultation click here.
Want to know more about bankruptcy? Take a look at our explanation here.