Can I file for bankruptcy if I am legally separated? 15 Answers as of December 16, 2010

What are the rules if someone is separated and wants to file for bankruptcy? Do I have to do it with her or does she not have to go through the bankruptcy too? Some of our accounts are in both of our names.

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Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
Yes. You can file for bankruptcy either with or without your spouse. It does not matter if you are separated. I have a case now where a happily married person filed for bankruptcy without her spouse filing, and sometimes there are substantial advantages to doing so.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 12/16/2010
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Yes, you can file for bankruptcy when you are legally separated. You can file an individual petition without your spouse. Your individual bankruptcy will not have any affect on the ability of creditors to try to collect joint obligations from your spouse.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/16/2010
Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
Yes but you will need to list your spouses income in the proceeding.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/16/2010
Ursula G. Barrios Law
Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
You can file by yourself. Your ex will still be responsible for her debts unless she files. You can file jointly until the final order for divorce.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/16/2010
DiManna Law Office, LLC.
DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
You can still file, but if you are going through a divorce the filing will stop all state court actions and you will not be able to proceed with your divorce without further motions in the bankruptcy court.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 12/16/2010
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You may file bankruptcy if you are separated. There is no requirement that the parties file a joint petition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/16/2010
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
    If you are legally separated and live in separate households, you may file alone. Your obligation for any debts (joint, or otherwise) may be discharged, but hers will not - unless she files bankrupcy separately.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/16/2010
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    If a divorce is looming they both of you should file together and save on the filing fees and attorney fees.

    You have the right to file on just yourself but that will shift all of the joint debt to her. So she is going to get really angry.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 12/16/2010
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC | Raymond J. Dague
    Yes. A legal separation has no effect on bankruptcy. I often file for just one of the two parties in a marriage even when they are happily living together, but the same is true if they are separated.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/16/2010
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi | Brian H. Nomi
    Be you married, separated, or single, you can file bankruptcy. Every individual has this right.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
    Law Offices of Lady Justice
    Law Offices of Lady Justice | Mona Patel
    Yes you can file bankruptcy if you are legally separated. You do not both have to file, however if both names are on the debts the the non-filing spouse will still be held liable for that debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You can do it if you are legally separated, however what does the legal separation agreement say about the joint debt? You should consult a lawyer about this, bring a copy of the agreement or order with you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
    The Shakoori Law Group
    The Shakoori Law Group | Rachelle Shakoori
    You can file separately or joint.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    You can file bankruptcy by yourself regardless of whether you are married, separated, or single. The issue is what income and assets get applied to the bankruptcy analysis, and that may depend in part on whether you live in a community property state or not.

    In most cases you still must include your spouse's income for the means test, but not on your current income and expense schedule. You must always list all debts and assets in any bankruptcy case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
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