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There are many reasons why a married couple may decide that only one spouse needs to file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy law allows a married person to file individual bankruptcy but there will be some impact on the non-filing spouse. A job loss or a series of poor financial decisions may bring you to the thought of bankruptcy and a fresh financial start. Can your filing impact your spouse? The following will help you understand how to protect your spouse, his or her finances, and your marriage.

Reasons for Individual Bankruptcy Filing

Sometimes people with extremely different financial situations get married before realizing that significant debt problems exist. For instance, one spouse might have an excellent credit rating and have acquired substantial property before marriage. By contrast, the other might have accumulated considerable debt and a 450 credit score. In many cases, individual bankruptcy will wipe out the indebted spouse’s qualifying debt without negatively affecting the non-filing spouse’s credit or property.

Community Property or Common Law State?

Kentucky is in the majority as equitable distribution or common law state. This means marital property isn’t automatically assumed to be owned by both spouses.

Joint Checking Account

If you and your spouse have joint agreements such as a bank account the funds in that account will be fair game during bankruptcy and can be used to pay creditors to satisfy what you owe.

Do You Have Shared Accounts?

Any accounts that you share with your spouse are on the table when you file bankruptcy. You will no longer bear responsibility for paying the debts back. However, your non -filing spouse remains on the hook for repayment.

Will Bankruptcy Show Up On Your Spouse’s Credit Report?

The bankruptcy filing will appear on your credit report, but should not appear on the non-filing spouse’s credit report. If a non-filing spouse receives an adverse rating on their credit score as a result of their spouse’s bankruptcy, the matter should be addressed immediately with the credit reporting agencies.

Non-filing Spouse Real Estate

If there is real estate owned by the non-filing spouse it will remain off the table for bankruptcy. Check with your bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you still must list that property on your bankruptcy disclosure. This is so the bankruptcy trustee can see that the property is separate rather than shared.


When you file for bankruptcy, it eliminates only your personal liability for debts that are discharged in your case. Your individual bankruptcy doesn’t wipe out your spouse’s obligation to pay back his or her own debts or any joint debts you have together. This means that creditors can still pursue your spouse to collect your joint debts.

We are committed to helping families resolve legal challenges and get back to their lives. We offer the guidance and support that you will need when you are involved with the legal system.

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About Helmer Somers Law

Helmer Somers Law helps individuals and businesses navigate the complex system of rules that accompany all legal situations. We are licensed to practice in both Kentucky and Ohio and offers flexible, affordable payment terms for our services. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and become your lawyer for life! It’s a fact of life in the modern world. There comes a time for virtually every adult American when the services of a competent, dedicated lawyer are required. Circumstances such as divorce, bankruptcy, estate planning or an income tax audit demand that your rights be protected, and your long-term interests advocated for with diligence and perseverance. When you call Helmer & Somers Law, you can rest assured that they will be.

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