Joint bankruptcy for couples headed for splitsville?

Imagine you’ve been thinking of filing for bankruptcy (as well as a divorce). You’re living in a house in North Andover, but your spouse has just moved out an got an apartment in Methuen. More bad news for you right, if you have to pay for two bankruptcies instead of one?

Perhaps, but not necessarily. In many cases still-married but separated spouses can still file a bankruptcy case together even if one (or both) have moved out.

There are a few advantages to trying this.

First, you may both be able to have the same bankruptcy lawyer. This saves money right off the bat.

Second, you will pay just one attorney fee and one filing fee for the bankruptcy case.

Third, you don’t have to take the credit counseling classes together (good for those who are really having trouble being in the same room). You will, however, have to appear briefly together at the meeting of creditors after the case is filed.

Fourth, you can count both of your separate living expenses on the bankruptcy forms.

And a joint case provides a baseline for disclosing each partner’s assets.

With a joint chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, you can have a single lawyer, file one case, and get everything done with a minimum of fuss, bother and expense. Or you can do things separately. You can file two cases. Each can pay a different bankruptcy attorney. You can each pay for separate credit counseling classes and all the court costs.

Which do you think is better for you?

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