Hi, thanks for your question. You should hire a lawyer for specific legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created here.
Generally, a spouse is able to file bankruptcy individually without their spouse, with little to no consequences. The exception being if you live in a community property state. You do not, fortunately.
So, the issues?
1. Joint debt survives, and the non-filing spouse is 100% responsible for the debt.
2. All income is disclosed in the case for the household, regardless if filing or not. This is used for the means test calculation.
3. Only the debtor gets exemptions, the non-filing spouse does not get exemptions for assets (although if the assets are jointly held, they can keep 1/2 of the equity as their portion).
So, those are the main points if only 1 spouse files.
Usually, if the majority of debts are joint, it is usually best to file jointly.
Talk to a local bankruptcy attorney to review the assets and available exemptions, as well as reviewing non-filing spouses issues. Most offer free consultations.
Do you have any other questions?
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