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Joint Petitions for Bankruptcy

When a wife and husband are each eligible to petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, they can file a joint petition for voluntary relief. For many couples, it is advantageous for them to file a joint petition. That’s because spouses generally hold the same obligations in terms of consumer debts that they incurred in the course of being married. This is particularly relevant given the fact that the debtor’s interest in community property comes into the bankruptcy estate. Additionally, the debtor’s spouse’s community property does as well, whether or not that spouse has filed a petition. Despite these advantages, a husband and wife can still choose to file separately, it is their choice.

If one spouse files for bankruptcy without the other, then the bankruptcy will only discharge the one spouse’s debts. If both spouses jointly hold the debts, the spouse who did not file is still liable for the debt. The bankruptcy filing will show up on the credit report of the spouse who filed, but will not appear on the others’. Additionally, both spouses must disclose all of their income, regardless of whether they jointly filed the petition. Filing a joint petition or an individual petition has a single filing fee, so a married couple can save money on filing fees by filing together.

Here at Littlefield Law, we can assist you with finding out which debts you hold together and which belong to an individual spouse. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Dallas, TX, help clients file for bankruptcy in joint petitions. Call today to explore whether your spouse filing for bankruptcy might influence whether you keep your home or vehicle.


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341 Meeting of Creditors