If I’m married, can I file bankruptcy on just on my debts only?

UPDATED: Apr 5, 2012

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If I’m married, can I file bankruptcy on just on my debts only?

Asked on April 5, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although you can file bankruptcy without your spouse filing bankruptcy it is NOT advisable.  Both spouses should file bankruptcy because if only one spouse files bankruptcy, the creditors will be coming after the other spouse.

Also, if you live in a community property state, community property is property acquired during marriage.  This also includes income during marriage and debts incurred during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.  Since community property includes debts incurred during marriage, creditors will be coming after the spouse who did not file bankruptcy for the community property debts.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This also includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends and debts incurred before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.  In a community property state, your spouse is not liable for your separate property debts incurred before marriage.

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