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Step Five: Deciding Whether to File Bankruptcy Jointly with a Spouse

If you and your spouse are living together and have debts that you are both responsible for, it is usually preferable for the two of you to file bankruptcy jointly. The filing fee is the same as if you were filing alone. If you file together, you will both get the advantages of a bankruptcy discharge. Since married couples often have joint debts, a spouse who does not file remains liable as a co-debtor and may be pursued by creditors.

You do not have to file jointly. If you want to file and your spouse does not (or vice versa), or if you and your spouse are separated, there is nothing to prevent a married individual from filing alone. However, the consequences of not filing jointly should be considered carefully.

Unmarried partners do not have the option of filing together. However, separate cases can be filed and administered by the court together.