One of the questions we frequently receive from our bankruptcy clients is about what effects, if any, an individual’s bankruptcy filing will have on his or her spouse’s financial standing. This is a good question, because many people would prefer to file bankruptcy individually and minimize or completely avoid affecting their spouse.
The impact of your bankruptcy on your spouse depends on a variety of factors, including the type of bankruptcy you file and the specific Georgia property laws that apply to your case.
First, you should understand that Georgia is a common law property state. As such, any interest you have in jointly owned property, which you own with your spouse, and any individual assets you own will be considered part of the bankruptcy estate.
On the other hand, this does not include any property that your spouse owns independently. Your creditors cannot come after those assets, even though the two of you are married. So, it makes sense for you to try to classify as much property as possible as being owned solely by your spouse.
Your bankruptcy will not affect your spouse’s credit. However, there will be some residual credit-related effects your spouse could experience. If, for example, you have any joint debts, the fact that you filed for bankruptcy could show up on your spouse’s credit report.
Your creditors will also be notified of your bankruptcy and could come after your spouse to collect any joint debts owed. This is because your bankruptcy will only discharge your individual obligation to pay back debts. Your spouse still has an obligation to pay for his or her share of those debts.
To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Georgia, meet with an experienced attorney at Jeff Field & Associates. Call us at 404-381-1278 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
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