Can You File Bankruptcy by Yourself in New Jersey if You Are Married?
Filing for bankruptcy is a thought that could easily cause severe stress for a person. This is especially true if the individual that is drowning in debt is married and is worried about how a bankruptcy filing could affect their spouse. If you need legal assistance to determine your best options for filing bankruptcy while married, contact an experienced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer today. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we are dedicated to learning your unique goals when filing bankruptcy and how we could best serve you when pursuing those goals. Our firm is here to explain whether you can file bankruptcy alone despite being married.
Filing for Bankruptcy While Married
In New Jersey, it is possible for a debtor to file for bankruptcy individually despite being married. However, there are various factors that must be considered when one spouse files for bankruptcy without the other. The following list will examine the benefits and drawbacks to filing for bankruptcy individually while you are married.
Elimination of Debt
Whether a debtor is married or not, one benefit of filing for bankruptcy is the elimination of a large portion of debt. If you and your spouse were struggling financially because you were burdened by debt that was insurmountable, the elimination of certain types of debt could make life easier for both of you.
The type of debt that is eliminated during your filing of bankruptcy depends on the type of bankruptcy that you filed. If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you could discharge debt like medical bills, utilities, auto loans, and even student loans under certain circumstances. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to eliminate some portion of debt to make it easier to manage.
One major benefit for filing individually is that the individual filing of bankruptcy does not affect the credit score of your spouse.
Joint Debts Are not Completely Discharged
Joint debts are debts that are entered into by both spouses. For example, if you and your spouse have your names on the loan for a luxury vehicle, this debt will not be eliminated when one spouse files for bankruptcy individually. Instead, the portion of debt owed by the petitioner will be discharged, and the other spouse will still owe the remaining debt.
If the name of the petitioner is the only name on a debt that would be discharged in bankruptcy, creditors cannot pursue the petitioner’s spouse to recover compensation.
The Income Level of Your Spouse
When filing for bankruptcy, the court will examine the income level of the petitioner to verify whether they qualify for bankruptcy. If the petitioner’s creditors believe that the petitioner’s financial situation is not dire enough to support the filing for bankruptcy, they may contest the bankruptcy proceedings.
Similarly, if the petitioner is married but files for bankruptcy individually, the income level of the spouse will be an important factor in determining eligibility for bankruptcy. The income level of the petitioner’s spouse matters because the spouse could begin to support the petitioner after they file for bankruptcy. As a result, you may have to provide information regarding your income and the income of your spouse.
If your spouse’s income level is significant, this can affect the type of bankruptcy you can file or whether you can file bankruptcy at all. If you still have a steady source of income but not enough to timely pay your debts, you should consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for debtors who have a continuous source of income but have become overwhelmed with the amount of debt owed. This form of bankruptcy allows the debtor to reorganize their debts into a form that is easier to pay off. Repayment plans under Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically last five years. However, if the financial status of the petitioner is extremely poor, the debtor could negotiate a three-year repayment plan with their creditors and the court.
Our firm is prepared to help you file for bankruptcy. We can determine what form of bankruptcy would benefit your situation the most and craft a strategy to pursue your bankruptcy filing.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers Today
If you require assistance filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey, contact an experienced Mercer County bankruptcy attorney immediately. With a wealth of experience in a wide range of bankruptcy issues, the bankruptcy attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates are here to help streamline your bankruptcy filing. We understand the uncertainty associated with filing for bankruptcy, and we are here to alleviate your concerns. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your options for bankruptcy, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 607-2715, or contact us online.