Although you can file for bankruptcy without notifying your spouse, it is generally not a good idea to do so. This is especially true if you’re seeking to eliminate joint debts such as a second mortgage on your New Jersey home. In such a scenario, your spouse may suffer the same consequences to their credit even if tthey had no idea that you were seeking protection from creditors.
Did your spouse cosign on a loan?
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may receive a full discharge of an unsecured loan that was obtained in your name. However, if your spouse cosigned for that loan, the law does not provide them with any protection from the creditor associated with it. Therefore, your partner may receive phone calls, letters or other notices about an unpaid balance. Furthermore, they may be taken to court by a company eager to collect what it is owed.
Is your spouse about to receive an inheritance?
An inheritance that is received within six months of filing for protection from creditors might become part of a bankruptcy estate. Although an inheritance is generally considered to be a separate asset, it can lose that status if it is commingled. Therefore, your spouse could unwittingly be inheriting money that will be sent to your creditors. A bankruptcy law attorney may be able to talk more about how an inheritance might be treated in your specific case.
You should always discuss major financial decisions with your partner
Filing for bankruptcy can make it harder to obtain a mortgage or buy a car. In some cases, employers may decline to hire individuals who have a spotty credit history. Therefore, it’s important that you obtain your spouse’s blessing before seeking to discharge your debts.