How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?
Jan. 24, 2023
Life's financial curveballs can strike unexpectedly and make it challenging for married couples to pay bills and meet their financial obligations. In Nevada, couples who are going through financial hardship may be able to seek relief by filing for bankruptcy separately or jointly. However, whether you're filing individually or together, you need to understand how your bankruptcy petition would affect your partner.
Attorney Scott N. Tisevich provides knowledgeable and skilled legal counsel to individuals and spouses in bankruptcy-related matters. As a seasoned Nevada bankruptcy attorney, Scott can enlighten you about your various options, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of filing as an individual or couple. The firm proudly serves clients across Reno, Las Vegas, Churchill County, Lyon County, and Carson City, Nevada.
Separate Property vs. Community Property in Nevada
In Nevada, the assets of married couples are categorized into separate and community property.
A separate property includes all assets, property, and debts that a person owns or owes prior to getting married. Separate property may also include gifts, inheritance, and personal injury compensation received during the marriage.
Conversely, community property includes all property, assets, debts, and liabilities accrued by the spouses during their marriage. Examples of community property are the family home, vehicles, family businesses, saving accounts, pensions, time shares, stocks, and retirement savings.
When married couples file for bankruptcy, their community or separate property can significantly affect their case. If you file jointly, you will include both parties' separate and community property in your bankruptcy case.
In contrast, if you file separately, only the filer's separate property and share of community property would be accessible to creditors in your case. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can enlighten you about the benefits of filing as an individual or a couple.
Filing Bankruptcy as an Individual
In Nevada, married couples may be able to file their bankruptcy petition separately as an individual or simultaneously as separate individuals. Here are some of the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy as an individual:
Individual bankruptcy eliminates some of the indebted spouse's general unsecured debts.
It will not affect the separate property of the non-filing spouse.
Couples can protect more assets and property by filing simultaneously as separate individuals.
Filing individually can help preserve the good credit score of the non-filing spouse.
Spouses who make a lot of money are likely to fail the Chapter 7 "means test".
There are higher attorney fees and court costs involved when you file simultaneously as separate individuals.
Creditors may be able to go after the non-filing spouse's assets and income.
Couples who are legally married must include their partner's income.
Filing Bankruptcy as a Couple
In Nevada, couples who are legally married can file for bankruptcy together – joint bankruptcy. Below are some pros and cons of filing for joint bankruptcy:
Filing jointly helps eliminate the general unsecured debts of both spouses.
Filing jointly can help save attorney fees and court costs.
It gives you twice the number of exemptions.
It is efficient and more convenient.
Filing jointly allows you to keep more property and assets.
You can easily streamline your entire bankruptcy process.
Only one spouse can file if their partner filed recently.
Both spouses' credit ratings will be affected negatively.
A seasoned attorney can work to understand your unique situation and enlighten you about some important considerations to help determine the ideal option.
Factors to Consider
However, before you decide whether to file individually or jointly, here are some important factors to take into consideration:
The spouse with the most debts and liabilities
The amount of separate or community property you own.
Whether you are legally separated and considering a divorce.
Whether you or your spouse recently filed for bankruptcy.
A reliable bankruptcy lawyer can review your unique circumstances, advise you intelligently about your options, and help you make the right decisions.
Clear & Compassionate Legal Counsel
When thinking about bankruptcy, understanding how it affects your spouse is imperative to help you make informed decisions. Attorney Scott N. Tisevich has devoted his career to guiding clients through the complexities of filing for bankruptcy in Nevada.
As your legal counsel, he can review your unique financial situation, evaluate your separate or community property, and help determine whether filing separately or jointly may be right for you. In addition, Scott will help file your bankruptcy petition, negotiate with creditors on your behalf, and represent you diligently at every phase of the legal process.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Tisevich today to schedule a simple consultation with a trusted bankruptcy lawyer. Attorney Scott N. Tisevich has the reliable advocacy and detailed legal counsel you need in your bankruptcy case. The firm proudly serves clients across Reno, Las Vegas, Churchill County, Lyon County, and Carson City, Nevada.