If general eligibility requirements are met, both a husband and wife may file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, either jointly or individually. It’s not, however, required that both of you do. Generally, if you and your spouse are both responsible for several of the same debts or you reside in a community property state where assets accumulated during marriage are treated as jointly owned, you’ll both want to file together to receive the same protection. If only one of you file, creditors can still collect from the non-filing spouse remaining on the account. Of course, in the event that you don’t own property together or only one of you is responsible for most of the debts, then filing alone can be more beneficial as it’ll leave your non-filing spouse’s credit unaffected. However, you still might be required to reveal the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse in your bankruptcy petition, so that the court can accurately assess your financial responsibilities. If you choose to file jointly, keep in mind that the decision must be made with both spouses’ consent. Furthermore, in order to be eligible to file Chapter 13, you both must reside, do business, or own property in the United States. One of you must have a regular income and your combined debts must not exceed the limit imposed by the Bankruptcy Code. Upon completing your payments under a Chapter 13 repayment plan, both you and your spouse will be released from the liability of paying all discharged debts.
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