In some cases, married couples may be on the road to considering bankruptcy – whether Chapter 7 or 13. There are various things to consider in these instances, and this post outlines some of the issues specific to couples looking to file in Arkansas.
Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy as a Married Couple
If you and your spouse want to file jointly, you both can wipe out your debt, whether each spouse is liable jointly or individually for that debt, at the same time. Filing a joint case instead of two individual cases will save on filing fees as only one filing fee will be paid to the bankruptcy court. Generally, absent in unusual circumstances, the attorney fees for a jointly filed case are the same as for an individual case, so filing one joint case as opposed to two individual cases will provide significant savings there as well. Joint filers also attend their meeting of creditors together. In most cases, it is a more streamlined and affordable process to file jointly instead of separately.
Drawbacks of Filing for Bankruptcy as a Married Couple
In Arkansas, one drawback is that both spouse’s credit scores and creditworthiness will be affected. This downside is generally outweighed by the benefit both spouses receive upon the discharge of their debts. The joint bankruptcy process can also be more complex for married spouses accustomed to keeping their finances separate, as the bankruptcy court will require them to account for their household finances jointly rather than separately.
Other Considerations for Married Couples Looking at Bankruptcy
If only one spouse has significant property or significant debt, and the other spouse has no property or debt, it might be beneficial for only one spouse to file bankruptcy. It is important to go over your property and debt with an attorney to determine the best approach for your specific situation so that your assets might best be protected. Similarly, if one spouse expects to inherit property in the near future, such an expectation might affect whether a bankruptcy filing would be beneficial for that spouse.
If you and your spouse (or you on your own) are considering a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, it’s crucial to speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to learn about the process, your options and which chapter might be best for your specific situation. Call the team at Natural State Law today at (501) 916-2878 to learn about how we’ve helped Arkansas couples restart their financial lives.