Can I File for Bankruptcy Without My Spouse?


Even though you are married both spouses are not required to file a bankruptcy Case. Filing a bankruptcy case without your spouse can provide the two of you with significant protection from your creditors even though only one spouse files for Bankruptcy relief.

The spouse who files for Bankruptcy relief can expect to get a discharge that will wipe out their personal liability for all the listed debts that are dischargeable by law. Bankruptcy will not eliminate the liens securing such debts, but such claims will be limited to the asset that is collateral for the particular debt.

Your discharge will also protect the community property of your marriage. That protection extends to what you owned when you filed bankruptcy and to any community property that you and your spouse acquire in the future.

Your non-filing spouse will not be discharged from his/her personal liability on debts, even if you list the debts in your case. Your spouse’s future earnings during marriage are protected, but your spouse remains liable in the listed debts. Only the non-filing spouse’s separate property can satisfy such liability.

Separate property includes assets acquired before you married, gifts received during marriage, and inheritances that are paid during your marriage. If your spouse was personally liable for any of the debts in your case, such as credit cards in your spouse’s name or taxes that you both owed, that liability of your non-filing spouse will not be dischargeable in your bankruptcy.

Your spouse may get demands from the IRS for payment of taxes that you discharged in your case. The Tax Collectors can make the demand, but they are not allowed to garnish your spouse’s paycheck or levy a bank account that has only community property in it to collect the tax.

Usually, the IRS will stop collection efforts against your spouse if you send them a letter, telling them that the two of you are married and that you received a discharge in bankruptcy.

If you have questions or want to discuss the benefit of a bankruptcy discharge, please call us. We will be glad to help.

Mark B. French Law Office Bedford Texas 817 268 0505
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