Should Married Couples File for Bankruptcy Together?

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Bankruptcy is a legal process that offers relief to individuals and couples struggling with overwhelming debt. For married couples facing financial hardship, the decision to file for bankruptcy together can be a significant step towards regaining control of their finances. In this article, we’ll explore the considerations involved in this decision, including when it makes sense to file jointly and when it might be better to explore alternative options.

When to File Bankruptcy Together

In many cases, it’s advantageous for married couples to file for bankruptcy jointly. This is especially true when both spouses have accrued debt either together or separately. By filing together, couples can often save on attorney’s fees and filing fees. Additionally, joint bankruptcy filings streamline the process, making it more efficient and less complex.

When Not to File Together

While filing for bankruptcy together can offer numerous benefits, there are circumstances where it may not be the best course of action. For instance, if one spouse has very little debt or a significantly better credit rating than the other, it might be more advantageous for them to refrain from filing jointly. This can help protect the credit rating of the spouse with less debt and preserve their financial stability.

Specific Case: Divorcing Couples

Divorce is a challenging and often emotionally charged process, and adding a bankruptcy filing to the mix can further complicate matters. In the case of divorcing couples, it’s essential to carefully consider whether filing for bankruptcy together is the right decision. While joint bankruptcy filings can offer relief from shared debt obligations, they can also prolong the legal process, particularly in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, which can last up to five years.

Factors to Consider

Before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy together, married couples should consider several key factors:

  1. Total Debt: Evaluate the combined debt of both spouses and assess whether it makes financial sense to file jointly or separately.
  2. Assets: Determine the value of shared assets and consider how they may be affected by a joint bankruptcy filing.
  3. Credit Impact: Understand the potential impact on each spouse’s credit score and financial future.
  4. Legal Implications: Consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to understand the legal ramifications and requirements of filing jointly.

Alternatives to Joint Bankruptcy

In some cases, filing for bankruptcy together may not be the best option. Alternatives such as debt consolidation, negotiation with creditors, or individual bankruptcy filings should be explored before making a decision. Consulting with a financial advisor or credit counselor can help couples evaluate their options and make an informed choice that aligns with their financial goals.


Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy together is a significant decision for married couples facing financial hardship. While joint bankruptcy filings can offer benefits such as cost savings and streamlined proceedings, they may not be suitable for every situation. It’s essential for couples to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consider alternative options before proceeding.

Ultimately, seeking guidance from a qualified legal and financial professional is crucial in navigating this complex process. If you’re unsure whether filing for bankruptcy together is the right choice for you, don’t hesitate to contact us for personalized advice and assistance.

If you would like more information, contact us at 913-422-0909 or visit our website At W M LAW, we are “Here to Help”.

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Jeffrey L. Wagoner


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