Do I have to be legally separated to file bankruptcy? 27 Answers as of July 17, 2013

My husband and I are newly separated. We are not divorced yet, but we do have separate households. Do we have to be divorced or legally separated for me to file bankruptcy?

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Law Office of Susan G. Taylor
Law Office of Susan G. Taylor | Susan G. Taylor
Not in Texas. There is no such thing as "legal separation".
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/8/2012
Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC
Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC | Roxanne Eberle
No, you do not need to be divorced or legally separated to file bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/4/2012
Law Offices of Lynn Pierce
Law Offices of Lynn Pierce | Lynn Pierce
No. You can file a joint bankruptcy while separated or you can file individually. It would make sense for you to file jointly even if separated because you only pay one filing fee and attorney fee rather than two.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/1/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
If you are not divorced they will want financial information from your spouse.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/1/2012
Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC
Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC | Jennifer Jakob-Barnes
No, you just have to live in separate households.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/17/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    No, each individual has a right to file. More information is necessary before you can be given an opinion, but your questions raise issues. You should seek counsel before you commit as your situation complicates matters.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    No, you can file by yourself. If you have separate residences your spouse's income will not be included in the means test.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Troglin Firm | William M. Troglin
    As long as you maintain separate households either of you can file an individual bankruptcy without having to consider the non-filing spouses income for the means test. However, I strongly recommend that you consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to determine if the divorce will have any adverse affects on the bankruptcy. The current bankruptcy law treats more settlement issues as support issues and therefore non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    You can file bankruptcy while separated without including the other spouse's income as long as you live in separate households.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC | Margaret L. Evans
    you can file by yourself NOW if you've been living separate and apart and EACH maintaining a separate household.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Legal separation is not required. You can file without him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC
    Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC | Jared L. Haddock
    The quick and simple answer is no, you do not. Depending on the circumstances, however, you might both be better off filing either before the divorce or after. Such considerations are easier to weigh with more information in the course of a consultation with a qualified attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Stephen A Harry, P.C. | Stephen A Harry
    You can file an individual Bankruptcy Petition at any time. You might want to file a joint petition while still legally married since there are some benefits that will reduce to problems in a divorce action.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    No, but your situation will make the timing of the bankruptcy important.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    La Office of William H. Von Willer | William H. Von Willer
    No, you can file separately, however, you may want to finalize your marital situation before filing.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    No you can file on your own and disclose you are separated and in separate households with separate expenses. You should be careful if there is to be any division of assets in the divorce as the trustee may take claim to it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Michigan Bankruptcy HQ
    The Michigan Bankruptcy HQ | Joseph P. Saulski
    No. Even if married, you are allowed to file separately. However, spouses income is a factor in determination if the petitioner passes the means test.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    No, you can file bankruptcy individually, but you may need to list the husband's income in your bankruptcy. The best thing to do is to start to educate yourself about bankruptcy. There is a pamphlet available for download at my website, which will answer many questions and give you some very useful information about bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    It is not necessary to have a legal separation before filing bankruptcy. You may file individually, even if you live together.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No, you can file individually regardless of your marital status. You will need to get your spouse's waiver, however, while you are married. Sometimes it is both of your best interests to file bankruptcy together and you will save on the fee's and be able to walk from the marriage free of debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    As long as you are separated and in separate households, you can use that definition for the dealing with the Means Test in your state.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    No. You have to sign a declaration under oath regarding the truth of your separation, but you may file separately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Law Office of Norman Moore
    Law Office of Norman Moore | Norman P Moore Jr
    No, it is ok for one spouse to file bankruptcy even if the other spouse is unwilling. He will remain liable for the debts after you receive your discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Knute Rife
    Knute Rife | Knute Rife
    You may file your own bankruptcy any time you like.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/12/2013
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