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Filing for Bankruptcy Individually vs. Jointly: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Filing for bankruptcy is an important decision to make, and it can be further complicated when you are married and considering filing jointly. In general, filing for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse can provide some advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.

The decision to file for bankruptcy individually vs. jointly depends on the amount of debt you and your spouse have and many other factors. If you cannot decide between an individual and joint filing, consult with our Bay Area bankruptcy attorney at the Law Offices of Melanie Tavare. The award-winning attorney Melanie Tavare provides personalized attention to each client she represents, which is why you can count on her hands-on approach to your case.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for Bankruptcy Jointly

According to Debt.org, married individuals account for over 64% of all bankruptcy filings in the United States. A large percentage of those married couples file for bankruptcy jointly.

In general, filing jointly can provide some advantages over individual filings – such as reducing costs and simplifying shared debts – but there are also potential disadvantages that should be considered before making any final decisions about how to move forward with your bankruptcy case.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy individually or jointly when you’re married.

Advantages of Filing Bankruptcy Jointly as a Married Couple

In most cases, it is beneficial to file bankruptcy jointly if both parties are financially responsible for their debts. The primary advantage of filing jointly is that it reduces the overall cost of filing because you don’t need to file two separate petitions with the court. This can save time and money in the long run. Additionally, if both parties are responsible for shared debt (such as mortgage payments), then filing together will allow them to be discharged from those debts, which could significantly simplify their financial situation.

Disadvantages of Filing Bankruptcy Jointly as a Married Couple

The primary disadvantage of filing jointly as a married couple is that it may not be beneficial in cases where one spouse has more debt than the other – or only one spouse is responsible for certain debts. Additionally, if one spouse has already filed individually before they get married, then they may not qualify to file jointly with their new spouse due to the fact that they have already used up their exemption limit on their individual filings. Finally, there is always a risk that one spouse will not agree to the terms of the joint petition and will refuse to sign off on it – which would result in costly delays or even nullifying the entire agreement altogether.

Discuss Your Unique Case with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process regardless of whether or not you are married – but it can become even more complicated when you factor in two different people who are both financially responsible for their debts.

Ultimately, each situation is unique and should be evaluated by a skilled attorney before deciding whether or not to file individually versus jointly when married. Our bankruptcy attorney at the Law Offices of Melanie Tavare can help you determine the best strategy for your unique situation. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 510-255-4646 today. 

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"Melanie is the best she very responsive and helpful throughout the process everything was taken care of smoothly. If you are thinking of going through bankruptcy she is the best attorney for you. I will forever be grateful having the chance to work with her. She is very honest too."


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"What I liked about working with Melanie was how prompt and easy to work with she was. She made the process clear and understandable with as little stress as possible. I would work with her again and recommend her to others."