As of August 2020, attorney Samantha Kehl is no longer with her previous firm. The Kehl Law Firm, P.C., is currently taking meetings by appointment only.

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Why an individual bankruptcy may be better than filing jointly

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2021 | Bankruptcy

Filing bankruptcy is not a decision to be taken lightly by anyone. It is a very serious legal action that is intended to give Texas petitioners a new lease on their financial future if they emerge in good financial standing. This can be true in both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 cases as well as with both single or married filers. As a matter of fact, while some married petitioners may first consider filing as a couple, the truth is that in some cases filing individually could be the best option.

Meeting the means test

One of the primary obstacles many of those wanting to use the bankruptcy law face is qualifying through the means test. The means test determines which bankruptcy chapter must be used, and many times the combined income of a married couple will force them into Chapter 13 when the goal is a Chapter 7 unsecured debt discharge. This can often be accomplished by filing individually instead of jointly, and possibly with only one spouse filing in some cases.

Identifying personal property

Personal property is also a concern with a bankruptcy case. Not all property that is perceived as owned by a couple is actually marital property. Each asset is important when a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, and the actual ownership of each asset must be established. While the purpose of a Chapter 13 petition is to stop repossession of certain assets, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could easily result in clear assets being seized for sale with the proceeds going to outstanding creditors. Each spouse should protect their own personal property with valid documentation.

Texas bankruptcy law attorneys understand the technical applications that can impact a successful bankruptcy petition, including a decision regarding filing jointly or separately. Many times the individual filing is the best course of action, and having the right attorney representing you can make a major difference.