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Marital Debt: Determining the Best Way to File for Bankruptcy

 Posted on June 14, 2019 in Bankruptcy Options

TX bankruptcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy lawyer Many people believe that being married means you automatically take on your partner’s debt. While it is true that assets you accrue during the marriage can be considered joint assets, that is not always the case for debts. You will only be legally responsible for your spouse’s debts if both of your names were used when you incurred the debt. It is not uncommon for only one spouse in a marriage to file for bankruptcy individually. Many of these single-spouse situations happen when a couple is married and one spouse has debt that they are having trouble repaying. For some couples, a major concern is whether or not they should file for bankruptcy jointly or separately.

Community Property and Community Debts

Before you decide if you will be filing for bankruptcy separately or with your spouse, it is important to look at the entire situation. Texas is a community property state, meaning that most of the property that was acquired during the marriage is jointly owned, or belongs to the “community,” which is you and your spouse. Because of this, even if just one spouse files for bankruptcy, all of the community property becomes part of the bankruptcy estate.

Though it may seem sequential that community debt also exists, it does not. The only debts you will be responsible for are the debts that you incurred either jointly or in your name only.

Should You File Individually or Jointly?

When it comes down to it, it all depends on your specific situation. Filing separately for bankruptcy in a community property state may not be the best idea because all community property in your marriage will become part of the bankruptcy estate. This means your spouse could be affected negatively by the bankruptcy and could possibly have their assets seized if they were acquired during the marriage.

Filing jointly will allow both spouses to discharge all of their debts, both individual debts and marital debts. You will also get to keep more property if you file jointly, rather than if you filed separately. The exemptions typically double for couples when they file for bankruptcy jointly.

Get in Touch With a Knowledgeable Boerne, TX Bankruptcy Attorney

The bankruptcy process is confusing, especially when you are dealing with the bankruptcy of a married person. If you have any questions pertaining to bankruptcy or if you would like to consult an attorney for your best options for filing, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee is here to help. Our knowledgeable Kerrville, TX bankruptcy lawyers can help you and your spouse look at each scenario and determine your best course of action. Call our office today at 210-342-3400 to schedule a free consultation.


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