When a Florida married couple’s financial situation becomes dire, it can create an overwhelming burden on their lives and their marriage. Making the decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be the first step in alleviating a couple’s burdens. Once that decision is made, however, many more decisions will need to be made as well, and the first is whether to file together or if one of you should file alone.
Several factors go into this decision, and it would be helpful to understand the implications of both sides. There are significant advantages to filing jointly. The first of which is the fact that creditors will not be able to seek payment from the other spouse. Most couples have joint debts, and if only one party files, creditors retain the right to collect that same debt from the other party.
You and your spouse will also save the expense of filing twice since the other party may end up having to file at some point. Second, even if only one spouse files, the income and debts of the other party are still considered by the court. However, the means test could make the decision for you. If filing jointly would disqualify you from filing for Chapter 7, it may be better to file separately.
This issue is often more complex than it may seem at first glance. The best course of action would be to seek the advice and assistance of a Florida attorney who can help you determine whether to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy together or separately. He or she will review your financial situation and make a recommendation based on which avenue will give you and your spouse the most relief.