When it comes to filing bankruptcy, there are a few things you should know about the role spouses, and even ex-spouses, can play. Most importantly, the decision to file for bankruptcy should never be one you jump into without considering how other parties could be affected.
The Other Person
If you are married and considering bankruptcy you have two options, file for bankruptcy together as a couple or file separately as an individual. Each has its own advantages and risks. For example, filing together as a couple will mean that you both enter the process, listing all of your debts together. Jointly held debts that already name you both as the responsible party can be better resolved when you file together. Filing bankruptcy for a jointly held debt separate from the other spouse could leave the non-filing spouse as the sole responsible party down the road, leaving them open for credit collections.
On the other hand, individually held debts that were accumulated prior to marriage can be handled with ease regardless of whether you file together or separate. The main factor is considering whether the bulk of your debts are jointly held or individually held, leaving you to decide the need for both parties to be involved.
Another consideration when it comes to spouses is after a divorce. While only an experienced Dallas bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your case needs, the general rule is that if you were to consider filing for bankruptcy it is best to do it prior to a divorce. If this time has already passed, consider the nature of your debts and the status of the ex-spouse. The last thing you want to do is to drag another person into your case unnecessarily, or leave them solely responsible for jointly held debts that only you can obtain resolution for in the filing.