No, it is not necessary that you file jointly with your spouse if you decide to do a St. Louis bankruptcy. You and your spouse would of course have that option, but it is not mandatory that you file together.
The filing of a Missouri bankruptcy is a very personal decision that is sometimes very difficult to make. A number of considerations are taken into account, not the least of which having to do with the total amount of debt that you are currently carrying. In some situations, a married couple will have debt that is separate. In other words, debt that the other person is not legally obligated on.
A good example is credit card debt. Frequently, a spouse will have lines of credit, but the debt is only in the husband or wife’s name (and therefore, there is no joint ownership of the debt in question). This means that the creditor can only seek payment from the party with whom it actually has a contract. This would also be the case for medical bills. If medical services are incurred by an individual, the hospital or doctor may not seek payment from the patient’s spouse.
Of course, it is also just as frequently the case that a married couple will hold all or most of their debt jointly. This means that if one spouse does not pay, the creditor may seek payment from the other. Such debts are often referred to as “co-signed” debts, but the point is that the creditor may go after both parties (jointly, or individually). In this kind of situation, if one married spouse files a bankruptcy individually (and therefore not with his/her spouse), all debt for which that person is obligated will be discharged as to him/her. This means that the creditors cannot demand payment any longer, and the filing spouse is no longer obliged to make any more payments towards the debt. It quite literally is knocked out forever.
However, in the above-mentioned situation, the non-filing spouse will still be liable for the very same joint debts that the filing spouse had discharged. That is the problem with this is pretty obvious: just because one spouse has had the joint debt discharged in a St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will still be a household debt.
But this is why it is so very important to learn all of your options before you file a bankruptcy petition. The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been assisting people with their financial well-being for over ten (10) years. Our goal is to make sure that all of your unsecured debt is taken care of, that you get back on your feet, and that you receive the fresh start / clean slate that you deserve.
We have two locations: in the Central West End, at 1 North Taylor, St. Louis, MO 63108; and in the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67), Jefferson County 63019. The initial consultation is free of charge. So contact us today to learn more!!