Can I file bankruptcy for shared debts during a divorce? 28 Answers as of June 24, 2013

My husband and I are getting ready to file for divorce. We have 40,000 in credit card debt. Some in his name with me as an authorized user. Some in my name. He lost his job a year ago and is on unemployment. We now have $11,000 in hospital bills from him but the insurance is in my name. If we divorce can I file bankruptcy on all to get all debt wiped out, or does he have to file also?

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The Salas Firm
The Salas Firm | Ron Salas
In a divorce situation I usually recommend that you file bankruptcy prior to divorce if at all possible, but if that is not feasible, then yes you may file post-divorce decree without your spouse.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 9/29/2011
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
You can file and discharge your liability and he can file to discharge his liability.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/24/2013
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
Without more detailed information about your debts I would advise that you file together.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2013
AyerHoffman, LLP
AyerHoffman, LLP | Melissa Hoffman
To wipe out all of the debt in its entirety, you both will need to file for bankruptcy. You can file jointly or if you two are already living apart, you can file as "married, separate households", which essentially is the same as filing individually. Nonetheless, seriously consider holding off on the divorce until you have completed the Bankruptcy proceeding. It will make the division of assets and liabilities much simpler.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 9/22/2011
Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A.
Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A. | Robert S. Cohen
No you can file separately from him and discharge all your debt including jointly held debt with your husband.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/22/2011
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone | Katie M. Stone
    The best thing for you both to do is to file a bankruptcy together before you get divorced. If only you file, it will discharge your legal obligations on the debts, but it will not discharge his. The medical bills can be included in the bankruptcy. You will be able to save money on attorney fees by filing together before you get divorced. I highly suggest you consult with an attorney in your area. Most bankruptcy attorney's offer a free initial consultation. I hope you found this answer useful.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If a couple is divorcing they can file a joint petition or file individually. All debts are listed in a petition, including debts that the spouse owes since there is a possibility for the filing spouse to have liability for a community property debt. Discharging debts in one petition does not discharge the debts of the non-filing spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    If you file alone, any debt in his name will allow the creditors to go after him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    That depends on the judgement or marital settlement agreement. If you agreed (or were ordered) to indemnify him on those those debts, that is not dischargeable. The best thing is for the two of you file together before the divorce is final. That saves everyone the headache later.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Generally yes you can file and would have to file alone since you are no longer married. You can get the debts discharged, but he would have to file for himself to get them discharged as to him. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton | Daniel Moulton
    You can file yourself to eliminate any of your dischargeable debt. He could take care of his with his own filing.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    He does not have to file bankruptcy with you. However, you may want to consider filing bankruptcy together before you get divorced just for the simple reason that it is less expensive to file one bankruptcy than two separate bankruptcies. If you do file by yourself, than you will be released of all debts and he will still be responsible for those credit card and medical debts that he has co signed for.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    David M. Siegel & Associates
    David M. Siegel & Associates | David M. Siegel
    If you have joint debt, the bankruptcy filing of one spouse only will not prohibit a creditor from pursing the non-filing spouse. The eliminate joint debt, each party will likely have to file for bankruptcy protection.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Offices of James Wingfield
    Law Offices of James Wingfield | James Wingfield
    You can file for Bankruptcy either before or after your divorce is finalized. I would not, however, recommend filing alone if you are in the process of a divorce. If you must file now, it is best for you and your husband to file together (it will leave you both with one less thing debt to fight over in the divorce). If you must file alone, you should wait to file until after the divorce is finalized just be certain your separation agreement / divorce judgment, specifies that you each are responsible for your own debts, and not for any of each others debts. Your bankruptcy will wipe out YOUR liability under the joint debts, but not your husbands debts. If you file separately, he will still be liable for the debts.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Robert Sisson | Robert Sisson
    It would be a wise thing for both of u, given the situation u outline, to file for bankruptcy as a married couple now. That way u can both get a fresh state and will not spend anymore money payind down bills (like. Refit card debt and medical bills) that will be fully written off in bankruptcy anyway.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC | Amber Morgan Florio, Attorney at Law
    You may always file a Bankruptcy individually to discharge all debt in your name. If you want all of the debt discharged for your husband as well, he would need to file. Or, you can file together before you divorce (you must be legally married in order to file together, and it is the same price to file together or individually if you are married). If your question is solely whether you may discharge all debt in your name by filing alone, the answer is yes.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    You both may file while you are married; otherwise, you will discharge only your debts.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    Your bankruptcy will only discharge your debt. Your husband's debts will not be discharged and the creditors will collect from him any joint debt.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Heupel Law
    Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
    Even though you are going to get a divorce, you would both need to file bankruptcy to get rid of all the debt. If only you file, then the creditors will pursue collection against your husband regardless of your marital status.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    He does not have to file now. He might well want to, since it is always desirable, for both spouses, to file before the filing, but he doesn't have to. You would want to file before the divorce so you don't have any issues regarding the debts being awarded to one or the other spouse which can bring up dischargeability issues. This is getting a bit technical, but suffice to say, if you were going to file, file before the divorce. If he wants to join you, he can, if not, you may file by yourself. Hope that helps..if you need more info, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    If you file you can remove your liability, but your husband will still be liable. You can still both file even if you are going to get a divorce soon. You would file jointly and state that you are living seperately.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/22/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    If you file prior to the award of property, then your bankruptcy covers all community property and debt. If you wait until after the property is divided by court order, then you only cover your separate property and debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/21/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    If you file alone, any debt he owes is not discharged just because you filed bankruptcy and the creditors can go after him for that debt. For him to be relieved of those debts, he would have to file as well. It also makes it easier in the divorce if both have filed as there is no issue as to who is taking which debts as they have all been eliminated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/21/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    A divorce's separate bankruptcy will not protect a liable ex-spouse. This is a common-yet tricky-scenario that merits a bankruptcy consultation by both parties. On a case by case basis, one must consider the ramifications of filing before or after divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/21/2011
    Eliza Ghanooni, Attorney at Law
    Eliza Ghanooni, Attorney at Law | Eliza Ghanooni
    You can either file together before your divorce or separately after your divorce. If you have a civil relationship, filing together may be cheaper. It is best for both of you to file so you both are free of debt. You can figure out which strategy works best as far as eligibility based on income.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/21/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    If the debts have his name on them and he does not file, he will still owe those debts. Worse, the divorce court may assign you responsibility for some of his debts incurred during the marriage even though you filed for bankruptcy protection. You need an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you determine the best way to address your debts.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/21/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The divorce and bankruptcy affect each other. If you file alone, and discharge a debt, and the divorce court still orders you to pay it, you may owe it anyway. You need a good lawyer with expertise in divorce and bankruptcy. Any misstep could prove very costly. The best result will be if your spouse cooperates.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/22/2011
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