Joint Bankruptcy Lawyer in Michigan
Do I have to file a joint petition if I'm married?
If you are currently married in the state of Michigan, you may be wondering whether or not you and your spouse are obligated to file a joint bankruptcy petition. While most couples have incurred shared debt over the course of their marriage, it is not a legal requirement that both spouses file together. Rather, all married couples can explore the following debt relief options:
- File a single bankruptcy petition together
- Allow one spouse to file individually
- Allow both spouses to file separately
- Pursue an alternative course of action
Before making the decision to file together or separately, however, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. There are numerous factors that should be taken into consideration when mapping out a practical course of action, so it is highly recommended that you discuss your financial situation with a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer from Hensel Law Office, PLLC before moving forward.
How does a joint bankruptcy filing work?
In a joint bankruptcy, you and your spouse will be asked to list all of your debts in a single petition—including those that are owed individually and those that are shared. You would then submit one set of paperwork to the bankruptcy court, including all of the property that you would like to protect from inclusion. Once the bankruptcy process has been completed, you should be able to wipe out both parties' dischargeable debt without having to file two separate petitions. While this can be extremely beneficial for a number of reasons, a joint bankruptcy may not be right for everyone. For this reason, we encourage you to speak with a Michigan bankruptcy attorney.
The Benefits of Filing a Joint Bankruptcy Petition
When deciding whether or not to file a joint bankruptcy petition, it is important to take several different factors into consideration. First, you should address the positive aspects:
#1: Joint Bankruptcy Will Save You Time & Money
- Whether you decide to file together or individually, the bankruptcy filing fees will be the same. This means that you could save time and money if you and your spouse file jointly. If you were to both file individually, each spouse would be expected to pay a separate filing fee. Additionally, you could save money on attorney's fees if you file a single petition.
#2: Joint Bankruptcy Eliminates Both Parties' Debt
- Since both spouses would be responsible for repaying any shared debts that were incurred over the course of their marriage, it may be counteractive for one spouse to file individually. When all is said and done, the non-filing spouse would still be liable for his or her separate debts and their share of any joint debts that were not discharged during the bankruptcy.
#3: Joint Bankruptcy is More Efficient
- As you may know, filing for bankruptcy is no simple matter. First, you must provide extensive financial documentation in your petition, and next, you will be required to attend at least one hearing with a bankruptcy trustee. For this reason, it may be more efficient for you and your spouse to file jointly—as you would only be required to do this once.
#4: Joint Bankruptcy Protects More of Your Property
- In the state of Michigan, married couples that file a joint bankruptcy petition will be allowed to protect more of their property. For example, you and your spouse could each exempt up to $3,250 in motor vehicle equity. This means that you would be able to exempt this amount in one vehicle, while your spouse exempts the same amount in another.
Explore Your Options with a Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you are interested in filing a joint bankruptcy petition, it is highly recommended that you consult a Michigan bankruptcy attorney first. While this process can be advantageous for many couples, you should not hesitate to explore all of your options before making a final decision. For this reason, the legal team at Hensel Law Office, PLLC encourages you to contact our firm today for a free consultation. When you call our office at (888) 258-0651, you will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment with our very own Attorney Thomas Hensel. In doing so, you will have the chance to discuss your goals and concerns, develop an effective plan of action and begin taking steps toward a debt-free future.