While filing for bankruptcy is never a simple process, it can be even more complicated when you’re married. For some married couples, filing for joint bankruptcy can have some damaging effects – for most couples, however, it will be the best option. It is important to work with an experienced Brevard County bankruptcy attorney who can take a look at the unique details of your case, and help you determine the best course of action for you and your spouse.
Consider Your Debts
The first thing you must consider when deciding between joint or solo bankruptcy is the debt you are actually trying to clear. If, for example, 80% of the debt you are trying to eliminate comes from credit cards your spouse had prior to the marriage, filing for joint bankruptcy may not make sense. Instead, you may consider having your spouse file for bankruptcy alone, allowing you to pay off the other debts and avoid damage to your credit. If your name is on the card or loan, however, a creditor may be able to seek payment from you instead of having the debt cleared.
Determine Your Property
Debt is only one half of the bankruptcy equation – the other half is the property you own. In a Chapter 7 filing, much of your property could be potentially sold by the trustee to pay off your debts. However, you will have the ability to exempt up to $1000 of personal property, $1000 of motor vehicle equity, and their entire homestead. When you file jointly, this number jumps to $1000 per person, giving you $2000 in joint exemptions for property and vehicle equity.
Other Factors to Consider
The cost of filing bankruptcy jointly is lower than if both spouses file separately, as you only need to pay once. On the other hand, combined income of both spouses may prevent you from passing the means test to file for Chapter 7.
Ultimately, there are a large number of factors which can impact your decision to file jointly or separately. For this reason, it is crucial to seek counsel from a skilled Brevard County bankruptcy lawyer who can take a look at the unique details of your case to determine the best course of action. You’ll find such counsel at the Buchalter Law Group, where our attorneys have more than 35 years of collective experience in bankruptcy law.
For experienced guidance through the bankruptcy process, call our firm today at (321) 320-6088.