How Can I File Bankruptcy if My Wife Doesn't Want to?

While most couples try and file for bankruptcy together, there are some in which one of the parties does not feel like it’s something they want to do. And you know what? That’s fine.

There have been hundreds (probably thousands, when I really think about it) of cases where a husband, or a wife, but not both has filed bankruptcy. While it makes sense in a case where both spouses have a lot of joint debt, it is certainly never a requirement that both of them file. In fact, there are some situations in which it makes no sense for both husband and wife to do it.

For example, if the debt that’s causing you to struggle is your own debt (and not joint, marital debt), it might be easier on your marriage if you file solo.

It’s usually best if the spouse doesn’t file if they have to do something like take out a loan in the near future. This is sometimes a useful strategy to help the couple rebuild credit even before the case is completed.

Another good example is when the couple owns property they purchased together in the marriage and there is a lot of equity. If they file together, they could potentially lose that property to creditors, but if the debt is not joint, one spouse can file and be able to protect the property from creditors in its entirety

Finally, there are some situations where it would be better for a person to wait a few months before filing bankruptcy. If that’s the case, then it may make sense for the spouses to file separately—one now, and the other to wait.

Bankruptcy is a big decision, and it’s always one that you will want to discuss with your spouse, whether or not you plan to file with them. If you do end up deciding to file separately, it’s still important to consider any joint debts. If you file bankruptcy, your creditors can’t come after you. But if there are two names listed on the debt, and one of them files for bankruptcy protection while the other doesn’t…. who do you think is going to start receiving a lot of phone calls?

Filing for bankruptcy is a big step, and deciding whether or not to file with your spouse is one of the many complicated questions it brings up. The best kind of bankruptcy attorney will get in-depth with you and go over all of this information to help you make your decision.

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