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Top 5 Questions Married Couples Ask About Bankruptcy

Top 5 Questions Married Couples Ask About Bankruptcy

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy isn’t an easy one, and married couples who are struggling to make ends meet have a lot to consider. Bankruptcy can be a confusing process and married couples have many questions that need to be answered. Here are their top five concerns.

1. Do I Need to Include My Spouse’s Income?

Technically yes, but if your spouse has their own expenses they can be deducted from the household income. When filing for bankruptcy, you will be required to take the “means test.” The means test requires both spouses to include their income if they share the same household. The means test evaluates your current financial state and whether or not you have enough disposable income to pay back your debts.

2. Can Creditors Still Collect From My Spouse?

Yes. An individual bankruptcy only discharges your liability for the debts you solely own. Your spouse is still responsible for debts incurred without you and debts you hold jointly. However, if you want to file for bankruptcy as an individual, Chapter 13 has a provision in which your spouse may be protected from creditors through the “co-debtor stay.” The codebtor stay is not an option in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

3. Can Filing For Bankruptcy Save Our Home?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option to save your home. Chapter 13 bankruptcy restructures debt into payment plans. Chapter 13 will allow you to catch up on your mortgage payments within three to five years.

4. What Happens if We Divorce or Separate in the Midst of Bankruptcy?

Divorcing mid-bankruptcy could complicate the process. Before you decide to separate or divorce, the best tactic is to complete your bankruptcy first. If you and your spouse are still married but not living together, you can still file for Chapter 7 jointly. In the case of a divorce mid-bankruptcy, consult an attorney to ensure you make the best decision.

5. What Debts Cannot Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Whether you are married or single, the following debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Most taxes
  • Government fines
  • Court penalties
  • Student loans
  • Secured Debts - The liability of a secured debt may be discharged, however, creditors may still be able to take back any property that is securing the debt.

If you and your spouse are considering bankruptcy as a debt relief option, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the process and ease your concerns. Contact our office at 913-742-8700 today to learn more about how we can help and our no cash upfront options.
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