How Will Filing Bankruptcy Separately Affect My Spouse?
If your financial obligations become overwhelming and you have a high amount of debt you might consider filing for bankruptcy, which may offer financial relief. One factor you might be thinking about when deciding on taking this legal step is how the action will affect your spouse and their finances.
Deciding How to File
When deciding to file for bankruptcy, you could either do it on your own or jointly with your spouse. There are many things to take into consideration when determining how to proceed. For instance, what debts you and your spouse have together or separately, and what types of property you own?
Because there are various nuances of bankruptcy law, it’s best to discuss your situation with a skilled attorney in St. Augustine. They can help you understand the process and whether or not a joint or separate filing will be best for your particular situation.
Even if you choose to file for bankruptcy on your own, the decision could affect your spouse’s financial obligations. If you have separate debts and property, those may be included in your bankruptcy. However, anything your spouse has on their own will not be part of the charge off or repayment plan. That means, they are still required to pay back what they owe on their debts. The bankruptcy for your separate debts will not appear on your spouse’s credit report.
Your separate bankruptcy filing may affect your spouse if you have joint debts. Anything that’s considered part of your marital property will be included in the bankruptcy. As with separate debts, when you have joint debts, and you file on your own, your portion will be discharged, but your spouse may still be required to pay. The bankruptcy may also show up on your spouse’s credit report.
Determining Qualification for Bankruptcy
One of the most common kinds of bankruptcy people file for is Chapter 7, which essentially eliminates qualifying debt. To be eligible for this type, you must take an income means test. Even if you are filing separately, your spouse’s income will be considered for qualification. If your joint income is too high, you may not be able to file for Chapter 7.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, you might consider Chapter 13, which sets up a repayment plan for your debts. Regardless of whether or not you’re filing separately, your spouse’s income may be used to determine your monthly payment amount.
Obtaining Credit in the Future
Although filing bankruptcy for your own separate debts might not affect your spouse’s credit report, if you seek to jointly obtain property or credit in the future, your filing might affect your ability to do so. Your ability to and how much you can borrow may be affected by your combined credit scores.
Discuss Your Situation with Albaugh Law Firm
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, speak with our experienced attorneys in St. Augustine. We will answer your questions regarding whether you and your spouse should file separately or together, and we will help find a solution to meet your best interests.