If you're married and considering bankruptcy as a way to deal with your debts, one of the first decisions you must make is whether to file as an individual or file jointly with your spouse.

Reasons to File Jointly

A husband and wife should file a joint Chapter 7 case if both of them are liable for one or more significant dischargeable debts. If both spouses are liable for a substantial debt and only one spouse files under Chapter 7, the creditor may later attempt to collect the debt from the non-filing spouse, even if he or she has no income or assets.

Filing for bankruptcy jointly is also cheaper and more efficient than having one spouse file and later learning that the other spouse has too much debt.

Reasons to File Separately

If only one spouse files for bankruptcy, any property that is owned jointly is automatically protected. Filing separately may also make sense when there are minimal joint debts or the other spouse is worried about the effect on his or her credit score.

Making the Decision That's Right for You

At Steffens Law Office, we understand how difficult a bankruptcy filing can be. Call today to schedule a case review to explore your options for dealing with your debt.