« Back to Home

Is Bankruptcy The Best Choice For You And Your New Spouse?

Posted on

If you recently got married but face a great deal of debt, you and your spouse may need a way to get through it. If you plan to start a family in the near future, your debt could put a damper on your plans. Filing for bankruptcy may be an option for you and your spouse. Learn whether or not bankruptcy is right for your family below.

Can Couples File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy allows individuals to remove or eliminate most of their debt, including unsecured car loans and credit card expenses. However, married couples or individuals may not understand how bankruptcy works and whether or not they qualify for it. Under the right conditions, couples may qualify for bankruptcy, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. 

Couples can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy jointly. Each individual must list or reveal their income, including income earned before and during the marriage. Federal bankruptcy court uses the income of both individuals to determine whether or not they qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The means test can determine which bankruptcy you and your spouse qualify for in your state.

If you and your spouse would like to move forward with bankruptcy, consult an attorney.

How Do You and Your Spouse File for Bankruptcy?

A bankruptcy attorney will generally require you to take the means test prior to filing bankruptcy. An attorney can use the means test results to determine your filing. If you and your spouse's income is large enough to pay off some of your debt, Chapter 13 may be right for your family. You and your spouse may need to make changes in your household to complete the payments, such as lowering your utility costs and food bills. 

If you and your spouse's income is very low, you both may qualify for Chapter 7. Chapter 7 allows you and your spouse to keep certain assets, such as a car or home. However, you must sit down and speak to an attorney about your assets before you file. Some states require individuals and couples to turn over certain assets when they file Chapter 7.

In addition to the concerns above, you and your spouse may need to take debt counseling courses before and after you file bankruptcy. In most cases, you can take the courses online for convenience.

Learn more about joint bankruptcy and whether or not you qualify for it by contacting a lawyer today.