Struggling financially creates a huge upset in your world. When you are constantly worried about money, your family life suffers because of the worry, stress, and sometimes even anger. While it may be hard to accept the fact you cannot pay all your bills, once you reach that point, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. When it comes to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, being married does not mean that you both must file. The financial situation you are in should determine whether just one of you files, if you both file individually, or if you both file jointly. Here are a few things you should consider before making the decision on who is going to file.
One Spouse Filing Individually
If one of you has accumulated most of the debt, and your partner's name is not on the accounts, it would be a good idea for just one of you to file. This will keep the other spouse's credit report in good shape so they can apply for credit if needed. If both of your names are on the accounts, just one of you filing will get rid of half the debt, but the other half will remain, and you may still receive notices, phone calls, and a court judgment for the other half. It should be noted, however, that if you live in a community property state, the non-filing spouse's income and assets may be considered for qualification purposes and may be sold to help pay creditors regardless of who owns it.
Both Spouses Filing Individually
If both of you have the debt and you both need to file, you may want to file individually if your state does not allow for double the exemptions if you file jointly. This will allow you to maintain possession of more items that might have been sold off to repay some of your creditors.
Both Spouses Filing Jointly
If you can file and receive double the exemptions, filing jointly is often the best course of action. A bankruptcy case is going to cost you the same amount whether you file jointly or individually. This means that filing two individual cases will result in double the legal fees.
Of course, there are other intricacies that will determine which way to file for bankruptcy. If you cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 regardless of how you file, you can always consider a Chapter 13 filing. Again, you can choose to file alone, individually, or together for this type of bankruptcy too.
For help with the decision, work with a bankruptcy lawyer from a firm like Skelton Law Firm.