If most of your debts are in joint names, it makes more sense to file a joint petition for bankruptcy protection. But if your debts are incurred separately, filing individually would make more sense, since your creditors would have accounts with your separately.
Another consideration you should think about is the type of bankruptcy to file under. If you file for a separate Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing may not protect your spouse from being contacted by creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy brings along an automatic stay on creditors that prevents them from contacting you for payment but it may not protect your non-filing spouse from creditor actions. On the other hand, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may entail co-debtor protection while the petition is ongoing.
There are many types of debts that may be in joint names such as credit card debts. These debts can be cleared through a joint bankruptcy filing. A joint filing may also save you money since you will only be charged for one filing.
If you and your spouse are headed for a divorce, you may want to consider filing bankruptcy separately. This would help make things easier when it comes to distribution of assets and debts later. A bankruptcy filing may carry different implications depending on which state you reside in. If you file in a community property state, it is possible for bankruptcy laws to protect the non-filing spouse.
If you wish to discuss your financial situation and explore the possibility of bankruptcy as a way to wipe your slate clean of all your debts, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.