Does My Spouse Have to File Bankruptcy With Me?

Does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me?


The simple answer is No, your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy with you if you are married. You can simply file bankruptcy individually as a married person. However, it is highly recommended that you and your spouse speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Bankruptcy Attorney before deciding whether or not to file bankruptcy together or seperate from your spouse. 


Ways to file bankruptcy:

  • File as a single person
  • File together with spouse as a married person
  • File individually as a married person


Questions to help determine how to file:

  • Who owns the property?
  • Where do you live?
  • Community Property State vs. a Common Law State
  • Who owes what debt?

Who Owns the Property? 

Sometimes a couple will get confused over who actually owns the property. When you get married you do not automatically become co-owner of property that was owned by your spouse before you were married. It remains your spouse’s seperately owned property even if you are living together in a community property state. Property must be formally transferred or assigned to you in order for you to have ownership.


Where do you live?

What state do you and your spouse reside in? Each state has there own laws and regulations that you need to be aware of and that is why it is always best to consult a Bankruptcy Attorney to make sure you are filing correctly.

Community Property State vs. a Common Law State

The states listed below recognize community property. The rest of the U.S. states are common law states—where property acquired during the marriage solely belongs to the person that bought it.

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Alaska

Who owes what debt? 

It can be confusing when trying to figure out who owes what debts in a marriage and who is legally responsible for the debts. Just because you got married does not mean that you automatically are responsible for your spouse’s debt. If your spouse was the one who contracted the debt originally, they are financially responsible for it. The only debt that you are responsible for is debt that you entered into with your spouse jointly or you entered into by yourself.

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