Filing a St. Louis Bankruptcy Jointly With Your Spouse

The United State Bankruptcy Code allows for a married couple to file a St. Louis bankruptcy jointly.  This means that instead of only one spouse’s debts being discharged, both spouse’s debts will be included.  Of course, even if you are a married individual, you can still file by yourself if you so choose.

When a joint Missouri or Illinois bankruptcy is filed, the court will require that the same documentation be provided and the same information be disclosed, just like when you file individually.  This means that income verification over the last six months from both husband and wife will have to be provided to your St. Louis bankruptcy attorney, along with information as to all assets owned and creditors owed.  Once all pertinent documents are received and listed on the proper Schedules and Forms, the case can be filed.

If a joint St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, then all unsecured debts that the both spouses own (things like St. Louis credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, and deficiencies from a car repossession, home foreclosure, or rental agreement) are knocked out.  These debts are discharged forever, and your opportunities to begin rebuilding a credit score are immediate.  If a joint St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, then you will be involved in a repayment plan that will run from three to five years in length.  During this repayment period, certain debts are paid back.  Things like mortgage arrearage, car loans, tax debt, back child support, and possibly some unsecured debt (although it is also possible to get a full discharge of unsecured debt in a Missouri Chapter 13 as well) are either brought current or paid in full.
Sometimes it makes the most sense to file a joint bankruptcy because of how the household debts are distributed between a husband and wife.  For instance, if you and your spouse co-own several credit cards totaling tens of thousands of dollars, but only the husband files for bankruptcy.  In such a scenario, the husband would be discharged as to these debts, but the wife would still be liable for them.  The husband would no longer be obligated to pay, nor would the creditors have any recourse against him in trying to collect on the debts.  The wife, however, would continue to owe on the very same debts.  She would still receive phone calls, letters, and other collection activity directed towards her.  In this sense, the credit card debt that was discharged as to the husband (because he filed for bankruptcy individually) would remain a household debt (because the wife would still be liable for it).
The options available to individuals and married couples vary significantly.  But this is why it is so terribly important to retain an attorney who has the necessary experience and knowledge.  The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been making sure our clients are fully informed of their rights and options for years.  Our goal is to help guide you through the entire process from start to finish, and set you on the path towards financial freedom.

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