In general, couples filing for bankruptcy jointly are allowed twice as much exempt property value, which makes sense since it is the property of two individuals instead of one. Some pieces of property, such as a home may have a specific allowable exemption value regardless of whether it is a couple filing or an individual.
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Husbands and wives should file jointly when the majority of dischargeable debts are in the names of both individuals. If one spouse files bankruptcy and the other does not, creditors may attempt to collect on debts from the spouse who did not file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Couples can file jointly but the benefits of joint filing vary from case to case. To determine whether or not joint filing is correct for a husband and wife pair, it is usually necessary to get legal advice from an attorney or evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of both options prior to making a filing decision.
Filing jointly for bankruptcy often carries unique benefits but in certain cases it may be in a couple’s best interest to file separately or for one spouse to file and the other to not do so. Spouses do not need to file jointly and a bankruptcy lawyer can help you decide whether married couples should file jointly or on their own.