When financial challenges affect you, those challenges often have a way of also affecting your family. Whether you are married, a parent, or both, you may find that your hardships are difficult to insulate from your loved ones. So, how can such situations be handles? In Tennessee and other jurisdictions across the country, you can file for bankruptcy either by yourself or with your spouse.
When a married couple files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for example, it can do so as a single filer. There do not have to be two separate bankruptcy petitions in play, as what affects one partner will affect the other. However, there are circumstances where only one spouse may feel compelled to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy while the other preserves his or her financial independence from the process.
If you choose to pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy protections without your spouse, though, your spouse's financial life will still be relevant to the ongoing legal matter. For example, under Chapter 13 bankruptcy an individual creates a repayment plan that establishes how much of his income may be used to pay down his outstanding debts. Since a spouse's income and assets may be relevant to the filer's financial position, that spouse's economic situation will be scrutinized during the bankruptcy process.
In short, you do not have to file for bankruptcy with your spouse. You can file jointly,, separately from one another, or you can file independently without your spouse filing a separate petition. Filing for bankruptcy while married may raise some unique legal questions, so those who wish to discuss how the process may unfold may want to receive their own guidance from their chosen bankruptcy attorneys.