Can I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy without including my husband?

Asked over 5 years ago - Jacksonville, FL

In January 2008, our infant son passed away. At the same time my self-employed husband lost a major contract. He managed to get it back, but at a substantial cut. Work has been very slow. Our income went from 6,600 a month to 3,100. We have a 1,600 mortgage payment and a 547 car payment. After our son's death things were so tight that we went to credit cards to cover bills. Added to what we already had, now we have 34,000 in credit card debt. Just recently got behind because we are struggling with just the basic household expenses. The credit card debt is all in my name only. The car is in my husband's name only. The mortgage is joint. I don't care what happens to my credit, but I want to protect my husband's. Your answers are greatly appreciated.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jeffrey Patrick Bassett

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Just a caveat to add: while you CAN file by yourself, if the debt is incurred during the term of the marriage, some creditors may go after your husband anyway. It's clear from your question above that you incurred marital debt (regardless of whether the card is in your name only). So please consult with a bankruptcy attorney or two to consider the likelihood of creditors going after your husband in such an instance. If highly likely, then you may negatively impact your husband's credit in either case and a joint bankruptcy may, in fact, be your best option.

  2. Craig Dennison Robins

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . I am sorry to hear of your many difficulties, financial and otherwise. Bankruptcy was designed to help people in your very situation.

    You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without your husband. Although both spouses can file a joint petition, they are not required to do so.

    It does sound like you qualify for Chapter 7. However, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your home state to discuss this further.

    For more information about bankruptcy issues, please check out my bankruptcy blog:

  3. Timothy Jay Waller

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . Yes, you can file for bankruptcy in your name only. However any jointly owed debts will likely shift 100% to your husband, and any jointly owned assets that are not exempt may be subject to forfeit to the bankruptcy court, at least to the extent of your ownership. As for the mortgage you can affirm the debt and keep payments going on your house just like nothing happened.

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