Whether or not filing bankruptcy individually or jointly is the best option for married couples depends on a number of factors. Legally, married couples can file bankruptcy together with one petition; a joint bankruptcy. Under a joint bankruptcy; all your combined property and debts are included. This may make sense for some couples. For others, it may be better for just one spouse to file alone.The biggest consideration when trying to decide whether to file bankruptcy individually or jointly is determining which of your debts you are trying to eliminate. In a joint bankruptcy, you wipe out all your dis-chargeable debts that both of you owe. If only one spouse files bankruptcy; the other spouse is still liable for all debts they incurred. They also remain responsible for any joint debts incurred with their spouse.
However, if most of your debts are joint debts, filing a joint bankruptcy is most likely your best option. But if you do not have any joint debts, or only have a few, an individual filing is most likely your best option.
Benefits of Filing Bankruptcy Individually or Jointly
One benefit of filing bankruptcy jointly is that it allows you to double the amount of your property exemptions. If you file jointly; all assets and property are included in the filing. However, if you file an individual bankruptcy and your spouse is not included; your spouse’s separate property is not part of the bankruptcy. But if your spouse has a lot of property that is separate and is not exempt; you should file individually.
An additional factor to consider when deciding about filing a bankruptcy individually or jointly is your credit scores. If you file together, the bankruptcy will go on both credit reports. If one of you has an excellent credit score and not much joint debt, that spouse should probably not file.
Another benefit of filing for bankruptcy jointly is that it can reduce your overall costs. Instead of having to pay filing fees for two separate bankruptcies you will only pay one filing fee. If you filed your bankruptcy separately from your spouse; you would pay the filing fees twice.
Also, the process of filing jointly can be easier than both of you filing separately. When you file for bankruptcy; you must give the court a lot of financial information, and must also go to court. If you file jointly, you will normally go to court together, and will only have to do your financial disclosures once.
Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys
If you feel that bankruptcy may be the best option for you; but you are uncertain about how it will affect you, you should speak with a bankruptcy attorney. Call the Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys at Holston & Huntley at (404) 620-3337. We are experienced; and can help find the right solution for you! Call us today to schedule a FREE consultation.