If you and your spouse are considering bankruptcy as an option for your financial woes, you likely have many questions. One of the most common questions involves whether two people are required to both file bankruptcy if they are married. While the final answer to this question varies depending on your individual circumstances, there are some general considerations to keep in mind.

couple discussing bankruptcy

Dischargeable Debts

When filing for bankruptcy, not all of your debts are going to be ones that can be discharged during the process. If you and your spouse share some debts that you want to have discharged and only one of you files for bankruptcy, it is likely that you will notice little change in the amounts that you owe with these particular debts. This is because your creditors can still hold your non-filing spouse responsible for them. Since you and your spouse likely have funds that are mingled together, you will not find any relief from having to pay those debts.

Retaining Your Property

The amount of property you are able to keep depends on whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13. During a Chapter 7 filing, you are only allowed to keep a certain amount while filing Chapter 13 typically enables to keep nearly all of your property. In some cases, though the repayment plan for a Chapter 13 filing is higher. It is important to not inadvertently reveal the assets of the spouse that is not filing for bankruptcy. This process could be more difficult than you think if you are both co-owners on property.

Income Guidelines

Many people believe that because their spouse is not filing for bankruptcy, then their income is not counted when means tests and repayment plans are figured. This is a mistaken assumption that could lead to costly settlements. Because the courts look at you and your spouse as being a singular marital unit, both your incomes are counted during eligibility sessions to determine if filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right route to take.

For specific advice for your own particular situation, it is imperative to obtain the services of a qualified bankruptcy lawyer in Georgia. Only an attorney with experience in this state’s bankruptcy courts can offer you advice that allows you to make the best possible choice.