What Is a Joint Bankruptcy Petition?

By Cara O'Neill, Attorney
If you file for bankruptcy with your spouse, you’ll file a joint petition

A bankruptcy petition is an official form that you must fill out when you declare bankruptcy. A married couple filing together would submit a joint bankruptcy petition.

If you're married and you file for bankruptcy, your spouse isn't required to file with you. You are free to file on your own, and, in some cases, it makes sense to do so. For instance, it would be illogical to damage a debt-free individual's credit with a bankruptcy filing-especially when the financially healthy spouse's strong credit score could come in handy if the couple needs to make a significant purchase in the future.

(You can learn more about filing for bankruptcy without your spouse by reading What Will Happen If Only One Spouse Files for Bankruptcy?)

If both spouses have debt issues, however, filing a joint petition is likely a good idea. Why? Because it will save you money. Not only do many attorneys charge the same flat fee for one or two spouses, but you'll pay one filing fee, as well.

Keep in mind that everyone's financial situation is different. If you're not sure whether filing a joint bankruptcy petition is right for you, you should consult with a local bankruptcy attorney.
Go to the main bankruptcy FAQ page.

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