No one hopes to find themselves in the midst of a financial crisis, but when we do, it is important to understand what our options may be. While bankruptcy can merely be a sound way to start over financially without the crushing burden of debt and other financial obligations keeping you from moving forward, there are implications that affect you personally that you should thoroughly understand before filing. Even your spouse can be affected by the filing, which makes it imperative to seek legal counsel to help you determine the best path for you to take.
How You File
If you are married, you can choose to file an individual bankruptcy that does not include your spouse. However, even if you go this route, your bankruptcy may have consequences for your spouse depending on how you share or separate debts and property, the property laws of the state in which you live, and the type of bankruptcy that you file.
Filling bankruptcy without your spouse most likely will not negatively affect your spouse’s personal credit. Any joint debts or credit cards can mean that your spouse will have the bankruptcy show up on his or her credit report and pose negative effects on credit scores. As creditors are looking to collect on the debt, they may attempt to collect any joint debts from your spouse as well.
If you own property separately from your spouse, their property should not be affected by any bankruptcy proceedings. Now jointly owned assets are a different story, how these are affected will depend on the property laws of the state in which you live.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, co-debtor stays may apply to your spouse if he or she has signed with you for financial obligations. This co-debtor stay can protect your spouse from any creditors who may seek to have the debt repaid. As long as you pay the debt as ordered by the court, the debtors can not ask the court to lift the co-debtor stay if your spouse is not required to pay it off jointly in the repayment plan.
Post Divorce Payments
If you are filing for Chapter 13 after you have been through a divorce, you will be responsible for paying off any debts that are attached to your name, even if your spouse was the primary holder. There are many implications for filing for bankruptcy during or after a divorce, and legal counsel should be consulted in order to make the best decisions for your circumstances.
At Hedtke Law Group we specialize in bankruptcy law and pride ourselves on helping people make sound decisions both financially as well as personally. For questions about bankruptcy or how we can help serve your needs, please contact us today so that we can ensure your tomorrow is the best it can be.