Do I need to file for joint or individual bankruptcy? 23 Answers as of June 22, 2011

My spouse and I decided to file for bankruptcy. Do we each need to fill out our own forms or can we do just one together? Are there any benefits to filling out separate forms?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
If you both are filing, you should file under one petition.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/22/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
File together, there is no benefit to filing separately and in fact there will be additional fees.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 6/20/2011
Rosenberg & Press
Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
You would be well advised to file jointly on one set of forms. In this way you will only be charged one filing fee and if you are employing an attorney, it is likely the fees will not increase either. You would be very well advised to hire an attorney to draft and file your bankruptcy. As another attorney on this service commented, "Filing a bankruptcy on your own is possible. So is doing your own car mechanics. It rarely ends well." Thanks for tuning in!
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/20/2011
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
You can file separately, or you can file jointly, or only one of you can file. If you live in a community property state and only one of you files, the other will benefit from the discharge granted in your case. The only way to determine which is best for you is to have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2011
Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
You should file jointly.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    A married couple can file a joint petition. There are some advantages to filing separately but usually not.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    Just file once as a joint filing. No reason to do them separately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    One could file without the other, the other could file successively/separately/not at all, or you could file jointly. Discuss ramifications with your attorney. Generally, if both spouses want to/need to file, they will do so jointly; however, interesting community property and exemption considerations apply.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    You can file one joint petition, and unless there was a compelling reason not to (e.g. you've only been married a short time, and all the debts were incurred by one spouse prior to the marriage), it would probably be in your best interest to do so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    You can file together. Even if you file separately, you must include both of your information and income, so generally married people file together (and usually it is much cheaper than filing each separately). Generally the only reason married people don't file together is if one of the spouses filed a bankruptcy earlier and isn't eligible to file yet. Sometimes they also file alone because all of the debt is in just one of the spouse's names.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    It depends on your circumstances. Most couples I meet with have joint debts that make it logical to file a joint petition. But it sometimes makes sense for just one person to file. I can't think of a situation where it would make sense for you both to file separately, unless you don't live together.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy | David Leibowitz
    Married couples may file jointly for the cost of one case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    When you are married and both debtors are filing bankruptcy, you should file a joint petition in order to save on attorney and filing fees.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi | Brian H. Nomi
    Much better to do a joint BK. It costs the same for a BK for a married couple, so why pay the fee twice to have two separate cases? For further information, its best to consult with an experienced attorney. Any good attorney will give you a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    You will need to file jointly. There is no benefit in filing separately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
    You should file a joint bankruptcy petition. This is less expensive and less work than doing 2 separate petitions with separate filing fees and separate meetings. It is the proper thing to do if you are both planning on filing bankruptcy. There is no benefit to a husband and wife filing 2 separate bankruptcy petitions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    You don't need to fill out two separate forms.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can file jointly and save a lot of money in attorney's fees and court fees. There are rare situations where separate bankruptcy cases are better or necessary but that requires a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney to find out all the details of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Srai Law Office
    Srai Law Office | Gurjit Singh Srai, Esq.
    You will be able to file a joint petition. In doing so you will only have to pay a single filing fee required by the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    You can file a joint petition. There is no benefit to filing tow separate cases, and in fact you would have to pay two filings fees doing it that way.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    You can file together and pay a single fee, in essence getting "two-fer."
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Your post makes it appear that you are about to make the huge mistake of filing pro se. Do NOT. It almost always goes badly. There are various reasons a lawyer will need to analyze that may cause you to file jointly or separately. The filing and legal fees total less for a joint case. But in some cases there may be advantages to splitting the cases depending on your respective incomes, assets and debts. The answer is fact specific, and if you guess wrong, you may have a case go more poorly than it should.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    File together. One filing fee, one attorney fee.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
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