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Feds: Married same-sex couples can file bankruptcy jointly

Beginning the bankruptcy process may initially seem confusing. Between the various personal bankruptcy options, such as Chapter 7 versus 13, and determining whether or not to file jointly with a spouse, there is a lot to consider. Despite the large number of details included in bankruptcy, an experienced can help sort through the options and see how they fit with a person's or family's unique needs.

In taking a look at one of the options, married couples may weigh the benefits of filing jointly or separately. By filing jointly, a couple can combine debt and help clear liabilities that they hold together. As such, this can provide relief to both individuals.

Of course, the ability to declare bankruptcy jointly belongs to legally married couples. Not long ago, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that legally married same-sex couples would now be allowed to file together in bankruptcy proceedings.

Although Texas law doesn't recognize same-sex unions, this Department of Justice move will affect the state. Bankruptcy is a process completed in the federal court system, which is why Holder made this ruling. As such, Texas residents who are in a same-sex union will now have the ability to proceed with a joint bankruptcy declaration if the need arises.

Of course, in order to meet requirements for declaring jointly, couples must be legally married. Texans who marry in one of the states where same-sex marriage is legal will meet the qualification to file in their home states.

This recent move simply expands options available to couples going through financial hardship. With this option now on the table for all legally married people, some may need to take another look at all of their debt relief options before moving forward.

Source: CNN, "U.S. expands legal benefits, services for same-sex marriages," Evan Perez, Feb. 10, 2014

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