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Will Filing for Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?

Deciding to file for bankruptcy can be a tough decision, especially if you are married. If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy individually, you may be wondering if doing so will have any effect on your spouse.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy without your spouse but do not know how your individual filing will affect your spouse, you might want to contact the Law Offices of Melanie Tavare to discuss your specific case. Our Bay Area bankruptcy attorney helps people who struggle with debt to file for bankruptcy individually and jointly.

Can Filing for Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?

If you file for bankruptcy, it will not directly affect your spouse’s credit score. However, if you and your spouse have joint accounts, your spouse’s credit score could be affected. Those joint accounts will appear on your spouse’s credit report, and late or missed payments will adversely affect their credit score. It is important to note that your decision to file individually or jointly can also have an impact on the status of those joint accounts.

Filing for Bankruptcy Individually vs. Jointly

When you file for bankruptcy, you can do so either individually or jointly with your spouse. If you file individually, only your debts will be discharged, and your spouse’s debts will not be affected. However, if you have joint accounts with your spouse, those accounts will be included in the bankruptcy, and your spouse will remain liable for the debts associated with those accounts. If you file jointly, both your and your spouse’s debts will be included in the bankruptcy, and you will be eligible for the same exemptions.

You should also consider the impact of bankruptcy on your marital assets. In some cases, the bankruptcy court may require the sale of assets to pay off your debts. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may liquidate any non-exempt assets to pay off your creditors. However, if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be able to keep your assets by agreeing to a repayment plan.

If you are concerned about the impact of bankruptcy on your spouse, there are steps you can take to protect them. One of them is to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine the best course of action for your situation.

Should You File With or Without Your Spouse?

Whether you should file for bankruptcy individually or jointly really depends on your unique financial situation. It is essential to discuss your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine which option is right for you.

It may also depend on whether you and your spouse have joint accounts or separate accounts and whether you live in a community property state. According to the website of the Judicial Branch of California, California is a community property state where assets and debts are divided equally. Ultimately, both options have pros and cons, and only an attorney can give you an accurate assessment based on your specific situation.

Get a Case Evaluation Today

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy individually, you need to know the potential impact it can have on your spouse. Our skilled bankruptcy attorney at the Law Offices of Melanie Tavare can help you understand your options and make an informed decision on whether to file individually or jointly. Schedule a case evaluation with our attorney today by calling 510-255-4646. 

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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."


"I can't thank Melanie enough for helping me through a challenging process and doing so with incredible knowledge, professionalism and tenacity! She went to great lengths to keep me informed, she responded quickly to my questions, and communicated in terms that I could understand. I highly recommend getting in touch with Melanie should you have the need."


"Choosing to work with Atty. Melanie has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. She was a very patient professional to work with and attentive while providing valuable solutions to all of my concerns. If you are searching for of an Attorney who is knowledgeable, transparent, and diligent - well that's Atty. Melanie."


"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."