Should we file bankruptcy jointly or separately? 15 Answers as of February 12, 2011

We currently have loans, a mortgage, etc. both on contracts. Do we file Chapter 13 jointly or each have to file ?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Normally, when both husband and wife have the same debts or each have a significant amount of debt, we file a Joint Petition for them. The cost is the same whether we file an individual petition or a joint petition. You and your spouse would be paying double legal fees and double filing fees if you filed two separate bankruptcy petitions instead of one joint petition. There are circumstances in which it is best to file for just one spouse. To discuss the specific facts of your matter, please call me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2011
Mankus & Marchan, LTD
Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
If you have joint obligations to creditors and are married, you may file jointly. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney, however, as there are a number of other issues to consider before deciding on bankruptcy filing.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/9/2011
Gus Johnson Attorney at Law
Gus Johnson Attorney at Law | Gus Johnson
Normally I urge married clients to file jointly.
Answer Applies to: South Dakota
Replied: 1/6/2011
Law Offices of Geoffrey Nwosu
Law Offices of Geoffrey Nwosu | Geoffrey Nwosu
Yes, you can file separately or jointly in most states. However, you have to be very careful since the creditors may pursue the other spouse in some states. It is very advisable that you consult a bankruptcy attorney in your state to discuss your specific situation and financial hardship. The factors to consider may include many factors like;

1- the number of credit cards and on which spouses name
2- Whether community property state like California or not.
3- The value of the property and home mortgage
4-Other non bankruptcy options

We are located in San Jose California. We can be reached at the contact info provided.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/6/2011
Law Offices of Lady Justice
Law Offices of Lady Justice | Mona Patel
If you are both named on the same debts and living in the same household you should file a joint petition.Chapter 13s can be very tricky and complex, you would probably benefit you to seek legal advice to help you through this process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/6/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    Depends on if you are married. If you are married in a state like CA, you can file jointly. Otherwise, you MUST file separately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2011
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
    If you are married you would file jointly.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/5/2011
    Law Office of David P. Farrell
    Law Office of David P. Farrell | David Farrell
    Spouses may together file a single or "joint" bankruptcy petition. However, joint petitions are limited to married persons. Unmarried persons who live together and have incurred joint debts must file separate petitions, but may request that their cases be ordered jointly administered. In addition, registered domestic partners are not eligible as they are not considered "spouses" under federal law.

    Your question does not indicate whether you are married, but assuming you are, the decision of whether to file jointly requires careful consideration and analysis, including the treatment of marital property under applicable state law and the non-filing spouse's exposure to liability for the filing spouse's debts. In chapter 13, the income of both spouses is generally considered in determining the amount you will have to pay each month to your creditors, regardless of whether only one spouse files. If the non-filing spouse is also liable for the debts (as a co-obligor or under community property law) it may be advisable to file jointly. Conversely, if the spouse's assets are all separate property that would not be liable for the filing spouse's debts, a joint filing may not be necessary.

    You should consult with an attorney, like me, to discuss your particular situation. Feel free to contact me anytime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Generally married couples file jointly due to joint debts and obligations. If only one files, a creditor can simply seek to collect against the other. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    DiManna Law Office, LLC.
    DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
    That will depend on your individual income, combined income, and then an analysis needs to be done by a bankruptcy attorney to advise you on filing jointly, individually and which chapter based on your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    One of the benefits of being married is to be able to file a joint bankruptcy case. Not even domestic partners can file jointly for bankruptcy. It is a lot easier and a lot cheaper if you can file jointly. If you both need debt relief then I can't imagine why you would want to file two separate cases. In some cases only one spouse has debts and there is no need for him or her to file but if both need to file because of debts then being married and filing jointly will make your case easier and cheaper. Whether you should file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is a different question. It sounds like you already know that Chapter 13 is the best choice for your situation. Hopefully, you have already consulted with a local bankruptcy attorney. If not, then do so because Chapter 13 absolutely requires the assistance of an experience bankruptcy attorney and it should be someone who practices in the bankruptcy court where you will have to file. That is based on your residence. People who file Chapter 13 cases without a lawyer almost always end up having their cases dismissed or converted to Chapter 7 so don't even think about it. You can pay most of the lawyer's fee in the Chapter 13 plan over a period of up to five years (minimum three years).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
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