If you are a married couple, you can choose to file for divorce individually or jointly. There are benefits and drawbacks to filing for bankruptcy as a couple. Factors of a joint and individual bankruptcy are determined by:
- The exemption laws of your state
- Whether or not the debts are shared
- The amount of property you own
Our St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers share the pros and cons of filing individually or as a married couple.
Joint Filing Pros and Cons
- Pro: You can save money – Filing fees for individual and joint bankruptcy are the same cost. Also, attorney’s fees may be substantially lower when handling one joint bankruptcy versus two individual bankruptcies.
- Con: Putting assets at risk – If one spouse owns a lot of nonexempt separate property, his or her assets might be put at risk if you file jointly.
- Pro: Double the exemption amount – Many states, including Florida, allow spouses that file jointly to claim the full amount of their exemptions, doubling their amount.
Individual Filing Pros and Cons
- Pro: Not affecting your spouse – By filing individually, a spouse who has acquired a lot of debt can file for bankruptcy without it impacting his or her spouse’s credit.
- Con: No protection – By filing individually, the non-filing spouse is not protected from his or her creditors. Bankruptcy offers many benefits and protections that the non-filing spouse cannot benefit from.
- Pro: Community property is protected – If a couple shares debt and one spouse is discharged, a creditor cannot go after the community property to fulfill the non-filing party’s debt.
If you have questions about whether you and your spouse should file individually or jointly, contact Boss Law today. Our St. Petersburg bankruptcy attorneys have handled numerous complex bankruptcy cases and can provide the legal guidance you need during this difficult time. Get started with a consultation!