Can One Spouse File for Bankruptcy?

April 12, 2017

Sometimes a married couple may not be equally burdened with debts.  Most or all of the marital debts may only be in one spouse’s name in some situations.  Although married couples usually file together in bankruptcy, sometimes it can be advantageous for only one spouse to file for bankruptcy.

How Much Debt Can Decide Who Files 

If one spouse has much less debt, then you may want to consider whether that spouse needs to file for bankruptcy.  If it is possible to get the other spouse out of debt within 1 to 2 years, then it be advantageous for that spouse to stay out of the bankruptcy.  However, bankruptcy is the perfect time to deal with debts in their entirety.  It does not cost additional amounts usually if you add both spouses onto a single bankruptcy. Careful consideration with a bankruptcy attorney should always take place if a debt-laden spouse desires to not file bankruptcy.

Medical Debts May Require Special Consideration in Indiana

Medical debts can sometimes be collectible against both spouses in Indiana.  Even if only one spouse is listed on the debt, medical bills are sometimes collectible against the other spouse. If only one spouse files for bankruptcy, it is possible that medical creditors could attend collection on the other spouse even after the bankruptcy.  

The medical debts are required to have occurred during the marriage in order to potentially collect against the spouse.  If the medical debts were incurred before the marriage, then it is highly unlikely in Indiana that the current spouse will be found liable for collection.  Also, collection against spouses may not always occur with every medical debt.   Many times the medical debts are simply written off after the notice of the bankruptcy without any further attempt to collect against a potentially liable spouse.

Ultimately Seek Your Bankruptcy Attorney’s Advice

Your attorney will likely know better than anybody else whether both spouses should file for bankruptcy.  Your attorney will likely be familiar with the difficulties of repaying debt.  Upon request, your attorney can review the advantages and disadvantage of having only one spouse file for bankruptcy.

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