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How will bankruptcy affect my spouse?

As you may know, even if you are married it is possible for you to file bankruptcy without your spouse filing as well. But how would your bankruptcy affect your spouse?

That question is very common and there isn’t one right answer. If the majority of your debt is joint with your spouse, they may want to file with you. If the debt is joint and only one spouse files, the non-filing spouse can still be responsible for the debt. However, if the debt that is concerning you is just yours, and not your spouse, they should not be adversely affected. The only time a debt or bankruptcy filing will show up on your spouse’s credit is if the debt or bankruptcy filing is joint.

In relatively new marriages, it is less likely that your spouse will be affected by your bankruptcy. Many times in a newer marriage, the couple comes to realize that the debts of one of them are now hurting their joint financial life. Often times financial stress is hurting the marriage itself. In newer marriages, it is less likely for your spouse to be affected by your bankruptcy because chances are, you have not yet acquired joint debt.

Now if you filed bankruptcy before you were married, your spouse doesn’t have much to worry about. Your previous bankruptcy will not show up on their credit. Your previous bankruptcy could affect your new spouse, if you two decided to buy a house shortly after you filed or acquire other kinds of joint debt. With bankruptcy on your credit, it can lower the chance of being approved or a large loan or may mean higher interest rates.

As you can see, how your choice to file bankruptcy will affect your spouse can be tricky. You should always consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you make your final decision. They will always steer you in the right direction, and they will let you know exactly how your spouse will be affected.

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