Should Spouses Jointly File For Bankruptcy?

Answers from Our Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers

If you are married, you can always file a joint petition for bankruptcy. In some cases, the wiser choice is for one spouse to declare bankruptcy. The decision to file as a couple or as an individual is fact-specific and should be made only in consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

The attorneys of Atlas Consumer Law stand ready to help. We have enabled married couples to get a fresh start through joint bankruptcy filings and through individual petitions. We can walk you through the key considerations to get maximum relief while protecting your long-term interests.

Contact us online or call our Lombard law office at (312) 313-1613 to speak with proven Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

Joint Bankruptcy vs. Spouse as Individual: Which Is Better?

Neither decision is automatically better. The best recourse depends on many factors, including the type of debt, the type of bankruptcy, credit scores, financial stability and your goals.

  • If the bulk of your debts were jointly incurred, you may be required to file as a married couple.
  • If most of the debt was incurred under one spouse's name, there may be advantages to filing individually. For example, one spouse may be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge, whereas the couple would not qualify due to their combined income. Filing individually can also protect the credit rating of the non-filing spouse.

The legal team at Atlas Consumer Law is well versed in the federal and Illinois bankruptcy laws as they apply to married people in general and your unique circumstances. Our award-winning attorneys will help you make the right decision to protect your assets and your ability to borrow.

An Example:

Luke and Laura* are a lawyer and marketing director living in Bolingbrook. They have accumulated $80,000 in unsecured debt between credit cards and a judgment from co-signing a family member's loan. Their $200,000 combined income disqualifies them from a joint Chapter 7, but most of the credit card debt is in Laura's name and Luke was not a co-signer on the defaulted loan. Laura files an individual Chapter 7, which discharges $64,000 (but not all) of their unsecured debt.

*Luke and Laura are fictitious characters created to illustrate bankruptcy scenarios.

Get answers today! If you’re considering bankruptcy, call our office or contact us online to see which option is best for you and your spouse.

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