When you are facing financial struggles, it is difficult to decide whether or not to file for bankruptcy. For married couples, you must also decide whether both or only one of the spouses should file. A careful review of your overall financial situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is necessary to make this decision. Factors to consider in whether to file jointly include:
The most important consideration is how your debt has been incurred. If the majority of the bills are held in only one spouse’s name, a single filing may be a good option. It is important to understand that if only one spouse files for bankruptcy, he or she will only be allowed to eliminate his or her liability for separate debts and the jointly-held debts. Thus, the non-filing spouse remains liable for the joint debts and his or her separate debt.
Property & Assets
A married couple must also consider how their property and assets are held. Title to property can be held in joint tenancy, individually, in trust or many other arrangements. You must also consider whether you live in a community property or common law property state. Most states apply the community property rules, but you should consult with a local attorney to discuss which laws your state follows.
The Bankruptcy Code prohibits fraudulent transfers of assets. Couples cannot prevent assets from being included in the bankruptcy estate by transferring property to the non-filing spouse or to other parties. There are numerous factors the court looks at to determine if a transfer of assets is fraudulent, but generally all transfers within one year preceding the bankruptcy filing are presumed to be fraudulent.
If you are married and considering filing for bankruptcy protection, confer with the skilled legal team at DeLadurantey Law Office to determine if you should file jointly. We can help you understand the best legal strategy for you.
Contact Milwaukee Bankruptcy Attorneys at DeLadurantey Law Office, LLC. DeLadurantey Law Office focuses on Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, debtor’s rights, debt negotiations, debt relief, mortgage loan modifications, and foreclosure defense. A “defender of the little guy, we serve the following locations – Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, Waukesha City, Waukesha Town, Kenosha, Racine, and all other municipalities in Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Kenosha County, and Racine County. We can be contacted by phone: (414) 377-0518 and can be found on the Internet and on Facebook.