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Do I have to file for Bankruptcy with my spouse?

We meet people each and every day with differing circumstances. In some instances we meet people that are married and would like to file bankruptcy individually, or without their spouse There are any number of reasons people want to file individually. These may include that only one spouse has substantial debt or that one spouse has already filed bankruptcy and is not currently eligible for a discharge. We also meet people that want to file without informing their spouse that they are filing for bankruptcy.

If any of this applies to you there are some things you should know. First, if you are filing without your spouse we represent only you. We will not, and cannot, inform your spouse that you are filing for bankruptcy without your permission. We will try to advise you of possible implications for your spouse, but remember, we only represent you.

Even though we only represent you, we will need some information from or about your spouse. If you are married and living together we will need information about your spouse’s income and assets. Even if you file without your spouse his or her income must still be accounted for as a part of your monthly budget and your qualification to file for bankruptcy. This means we will need about six months of pay stubs or other qualified income documentation from your spouse. Of course, if he or she does not work that is not a problem. This information is necessary because the bankruptcy court will want to look at your entire budget as a whole. Now, you should also provide us with any expenses your spouse has, even if they only come out of his or her income. Some examples may include student loans, car payments, or child support and/or alimony.

We also understand that there are situations where legally married individuals so not live together and share expenses. If that is the case you will not be required to provide income and expense information for your spouse.

On the other hand, we sometime have situations where married individuals are not living together, but still wish to file bankruptcy together. This can happen when the debt is all shared or even in some cases where a couple intends to separate or divorce, but wants to address the debt together. In this case, as long as the two individuals are married at the time of filing they can still file together. We will simply sit down and go over each individuals income and expenses. Of course, we will want to go over the specifics of this and our representation to make sure that everyone is on the same page at all times.

If you have questions about this, or any other questions, please contact your St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney Today!


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