Can I File A Bankruptcy Case Without My Spouse?

Yes, as an Asheville bankruptcy lawyer, I file individual Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.  An individual filing will not affect the non-filing spouse’s credit rating or appear on their credit report.  Married couples are also allowed to file ‘jointly,’ where both spouses open a bankruptcy case together.

The critical factor to keep in mind is that if you file a bankruptcy case, only your debts will be discharged.  Your bankruptcy case will not relieve your spouse’s liability on a debt if there is any (liability generally hinges on who signed the contract).  For debts in both spouses’ names, a joint filing eliminates all liability, and reduces administrative costs such as filing fees, attorney fees, etc.

Here are some reasons you may want to file an individual case, without your spouse:

The majority of debt is in only one spouse’s name.  An individual bankruptcy case could provide relief to the household budget while maintaining the good credit of the non-filer.

One spouse does not want to file a bankruptcy case.  An individual bankruptcy case may be the only relief available because a joint case requires both spouses’ consent.

 A non-exempt asset is in one spouse’s name.  For example, if investment real estate was owned free and clear and only one spouse was on the deed, an individual filing could protect that asset while still providing a financial fresh start.

An asset was transferred by one spouse.  Pre-petition transfers of assets can be problematic, and an individual filing can frequently eliminate the problem.

You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney before deciding to file a case jointly or individually.  For those of you in Western North Carolina, I would be pleased to speak with you during a free, initial consultation.

*The information contained on this website is not intended and does not constitute the providing of any legal advice or any legal opinions or services to any user thereof. The information available on or through this web page is not intended and shall not be used as a substitute for the advice and consultation provided by an attorney.  Any factual examples used to illustrate concepts are hypothetical and do not depict actual events or real persons.