Whether you’re getting married soon or you already are married, you might be wondering how bankruptcy works with marriage.


Maybe years ago you maxed out your credit cards for a wedding, thinking you could pay them off, or life brought on a hard time and you had to rely on cards and loans to get through it, but now you’re drowning in monthly payments. Even if one spouse came into marriage with a mountain of debt while the other has none, it can be difficult to manage and keep up with the payments. Your life and your marriage don’t need that added financial stress, but then the question is, how does marriage affect filing for bankruptcy?


Individual Debts

If only one spouse’s debts are causing a couple’s paycheck-to-paycheck struggle, the best option might be for that spouse to file bankruptcy. This can help relieve the weight and burden of the debts accumulated by one partner before marriage, without affecting the other partner. If credit cards are to be included in bankruptcy were opened under one spouse, that person is the only one liable for the debt, even if their spouse was added as an authorized user. Any medical debts from before marriage or during a legal separation are only tied to the person who received them.


Shared Debts

However, any debts that a couple has together, or “joint debts” will be included in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This can include medical debts that were incurred during the marriage, as well as credit cards or loans taken in both partners’ names.


Assessing Your Debts & Who Should File

If a large amount of a married couple’s debts are shared, or both have large amounts individually, it might make sense to file jointly. If a joint debt is included in an individual’s bankruptcy, they are discharged of the debt while the other spouse is still responsible for repayment. Other things to weigh might include assets, such as a vehicle or a mortgage on a home.


While bankruptcy can be a beneficial tool to relieve you from debt’s heavy burden, it is also complex and can be difficult to navigate, especially when you’re married with a mixture of debts! If you and your spouse are considering bankruptcy, you can contact me today for a free consult where I can help you determine what is the right course of action for your family. I’m here to help make the process smooth and encourage you to pursue whatever the best decision is to move you toward financial relief.


Contact Ron Lundquist today to get started discussing bankruptcy.