Filing for bankruptcy in Florida is a big decision, especially if it will affect more than just yourself. You and your spouse might feel stuck weighing the benefits of filing against trying to pay everything back yourselves. However, this is not the only decision you need to make. When seeking debt relief, you also need to figure out whether you will file by yourself or jointly with your spouse.
Whether filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are several benefits to filing jointly. For example, it is cheaper to file jointly with your spouse than for you to each file separately. This is because you only need to pay the court filing once, whereas you would have to shell out two court fees for separate filings. The cheaper option might work out well if you are already in a difficult financial position.
The cost of filing is not the only thing you should take into account. If you and your significant other have a significant amount of shared debt, then a joint petition could be helpful. If only one spouse files for bankruptcy, then creditors can still come after the other spouse if that spouse is named on any of those debts. If most of the debts are separate, then making separate bankruptcy filings could also be a viable option.
Even if you decide to file on your own, your spouse will still be affected and involved. The spouse's debt and income will be involved in the filing, and any impact associated with bankruptcy can spill over into his or her life. This can make deciding whether to file an extremely difficult matter. To make sure that you follow the best possible path for debt relief, it can be helpful to speak with a Florida attorney who is experienced in bankruptcy law.