Can one spouse file bankruptcy without the other?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Bankruptcy |

Every Tennessee married couple handles their finances in a unique manner. No two households are the same. In some marriages, one spouse handles all things financially related. However, this sometimes creates problems for the other spouse, especially if the spouse handling all the money becomes incapacitated or dies. It’s always best for both spouses to fully understand their financial status. Things happen, and there may come a time when a couple determines that one spouse should file for bankruptcy without the other.

While it’s legal to do so, there may be implications for the non-paying spouse, as well. Therefore, it is advisable to thoroughly research the process and to discuss whether an alternative debt relief resource might be available.

A bankruptcy is a matter of public record

If your spouse is filing for bankruptcy while you are not, your income and information will still be part of the proceedings. This means that information about your employment (including your salary) will be accessible to the public. Another potential downside of your spouse filing for bankruptcy without you is that your own credit score might take a big hit. This is likely if you have shared debts that are unpaid.

If your credit score plummets, you might have trouble securing a personal loan. While it may be possible to rebuild your credit rating, it takes time. It’s best to seek guidance to learn how to minimize the impact your spouse’s bankruptcy may have on your financial status. Even if you and your spouse separate and head for divorce, his or her bankruptcy may have an impact on your finances.

Which bankruptcy program is the best fit?

Three main types of bankruptcy include Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11. Each carries its own eligibility requirements. It’s possible for your spouse to qualify for one program but not another. With some types of debt relief, the court restructures the monthly payments, or extends the life of a loan. Other programs involve liquidation of assets, with proceeds used to pay back creditors.

If you or your spouse is considering filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee, take time to review state laws and requirements for each program to determine which one best fits your family’s needs. In the end, you might determine that it is better to file for bankruptcy together than for one of you to do it without the other. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help you make informed decisions.


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