Anderson Attorney for Bankruptcy Cites Marriage-Money Myths

March 9, 2012 2:46 am Published by

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the many myths about couples and money persist throughout the year.  In fact, one of the questions most asked of all good bankruptcy attorneys in Indiana is this:

Must married couples both file bankruptcy, and should they file together or separately?

So, even though weeks have passed since Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to devote today’s Bankruptcy in Indiana article to couples and their credit, debunking some common myths about marrieds who file personal bankruptcy in Indiana.


As Constitution Guru explains, “When a married couple face bankruptcy, they can file jointly, one can file while the other one doesn’t, or they can file separately at the same time.”

And, as one of my Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer colleagues stresses to our clients,  there is a legal theory called “joint and several liability”.  What that means is that when a married couple have joint debts (such as a credit card in both names), each one is liable for repaying the total debt.

For my part, as a debt consolidation lawyer offering bankruptcy services in Indiana for so many years, I often need to explain that, when a married person files individual bankruptcy in Indiana and any debts are discharged (forgiven) by the bankruptcy court, that discharge will apply only to that person’s separate debt, not to jointly held debts.

A related myth that Sandra Block writes about in USA Today is that if husband and wife keep their finances separated, then one’s poor credit history won’t have any effect on the other person.  The fact is, Block explains, while credit scores don’t get merged when you get married, “lenders will look at both spouses’ credit reports from all three credit bureaus.”

The Indiana lawyers for bankruptcy in all four Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices deal with situations where only one spouse is filing personal bankruptcy in Indiana.  Especially when it comes to cases filed under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law, they know the non-filing spouse’s income needs to be included in the bankruptcy paperwork.

Along with the many myths concerning married couples filing bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Indiana, there is one misunderstanding that my Columbus bankruptcy lawyer colleague tells me she’s asked again and again: Is it better to file bankruptcy prior to a divorce or after the divorce is final? That’s going to have to be the subject for another Mark Zuckerberg article, but suffice to say that divorce may break up a couple legally, but financially they are still tied to each other when in comes to filing either individual bankruptcy or small business bankruptcy in Indiana!



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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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