Bankruptcy and Marriage

When two individuals join in a marital contract, it is said that their two lives become one.  Although this is true with the matters of the heart, it is unfortunately also true when it comes to finances. In some cases, a married couple may find themselves entering into complicated territory when bankruptcy is introduced into the equation.

Questions raised by marriage and bankruptcy often include issues about who is liable for which debts, what creditors can reasonably expect to collect, and what happens when bankruptcy is filed before marriage or after divorce.  For many people, it is often unclear what effect bankruptcy will have on their finances when marriage is factored into the equation.

Bankruptcy Filed Before Marriage

If a person files for bankruptcy before marriage, the judgments against the individual typically stay with that person into marriage. The spouse’s assets are usually unaffected, but any applications for joint credit will be affected by the past bankruptcy filing.  Any actions requiring credit together will be affected by the bankruptcy, even though it occurred before the marriage.

Bankruptcy Filed During a Marriage

If a person is married but files for individual bankruptcy, the court will often look at the finances of the person who filed, but also those of the spouse.  A married couple may also file for joint bankruptcy, during which the financial situation and assets of both parties is usually thoroughly reviewed.

Bankruptcy Filed After a Divorce

Divorce proceedings are typically complicated affairs, and such situations can be further complicated by bankruptcy.  When a married couple divorces, joint property is often divided and is considered separate property in the future.  Divorce courts will often determine if the two individuals are still personally liable for joint debts, and if not, the non-filing spouse is typically not required to pay anything.

It is essential that any person who is considering filing for bankruptcy examine their financial situation carefully and consult a legal professional about any questions that may arise. For more information regarding marriage and bankruptcy, visit the website of Boston bankruptcy lawyer Joshua Spirn & Associates.