If I file for bankruptcy in Miami, Florida can I eliminate joint debt?

I recently met a couple who was contemplating getting a divorce and they asked if they should do bankruptcy before a divorce and if both parties had to actually file for bankruptcy.  The main issue in their case is what happens to their joint debt and like most questions it depends:

 

When a married person files for bankruptcy they have the option to file jointly (husband and wife) or individually (only the husband or only the wife).  The reason for choosing one over the other depends on the debts and the assets of the individuals and the answer changes on a case by case basis.   Here are some basic understandings of what happens when married people file for bankruptcy in Miami, Florida.

 

Married but only one Spouse Filing:

If a married couple has joint debt and only one spouse decides to file they will personally not be responsible for the debt that they guaranteed including all joint debt.  HOWEVER the non-filing spouse becomes solely responsible for the joint-debt of the parties, and the creditors can only legally come after the non-filing spouse in an attempt to collect the debts.

 

Married and Filing Jointly:

If a married couple files for bankruptcy JOINTLY then they both can eliminate their debts at the same time.    Furthermore the bankruptcy of joint filers can include individual debts of the parties too, like if the husband has a credit card only in his name, the debt on that card will be discharged in the bankruptcy as well (even though the wife never signed it).

 

If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy and have questions regarding individual or joint debts then please contact Shmucher Law, PL at 954-309-5559 or 305-741-5553 to schedule a free consultation in any of our office locations including Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Plantation Florida.

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