Bankruptcy For Spouses In Nevada


For any Las Vegas resident that is overwhelmed with debt, the protections offered through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may make sense. But what about married couples? While it is true that couples frequently accumulate assets and debt together, it is not uncommon for only one spouse to be in a position to need the protection of a bankruptcy filing. Luckily, the bankruptcy code provides options for one or both spouses to declare bankruptcy using a single petition.
Known as a joint filing, it is possible for Nevada couples to file together in order to discharge both joint and personal debts. However, there are a number of important caveats you should know, which is why it is always worth discussing your case with a Nevada bankruptcy attorney before filing your bankruptcy petition. At Vohwinkel Law, we have extensive experience representing married couples in a wide range of bankruptcy matters. Call our Las Vegas office today to set up a free, completely confidential review of your case.

Bankruptcy For Spouses Or Partners – How Does It Work?

Filing for personal bankruptcy protection is complicated enough. For married couples, the process can be even more confusing. You are going to have to make a decision relatively early on in the process: Should we file for bankruptcy collectively as a married couple or should only one us file? There is no one right answer to this question. When it comes to filing bankruptcy, the decision for a single spouse to file separately or for both spouses to file jointly depends on the nature of the debt the two have accumulated. Here is a basic overview of your spousal bankruptcy options in Nevada:

What are the Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Spousal Bankruptcy?

A Joint Bankruptcy Filing Might Make the Most Sense for a Married Couple

There are circumstances where joint filing makes the most sense. With most filings, the goal is to protect as many assets as possible using the exemption process. When property is exempt, it cannot be used by the bankruptcy trustee to satisfy creditors. In a joint filing, most exemptions under Nevada law may be doubled to prevent spouses from being shortchanged compared to if they had simply filed for bankruptcy separately. However, some exemptions like the homestead exemption can only be used once even for married couples. In a situation where one spouse has a large amount of non-exempt property, it may make more sense for the other spouse to file separately in order to make better use of the state’s available exemptions.

An Individual Bankruptcy Filing May Be Better for a Married Couple

On the other hand, there are also circumstances when an individual filing offers advantages. The non-filing spouse may be in a better financial position. Though, it is also important to note that the property of a non-filing spouse will still be a part of the bankruptcy estate even if they aren’t filing in their own name. This means that, despite not being a part of the bankruptcy, the non-filing spouse could find their assets liquidated and sold by the bankruptcy trustee in order to satisfy the creditors of the filing spouse. With these kinds of consequences, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney before making any decisions regarding filing for bankruptcy.

Married Couples Must Decide Between Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

For a married couple facing financial hardship, the choice between filing a joint bankruptcy petition and an individual bankruptcy petition is an important one. Though it is far from the only key decision that you need to make. You also need to determine whether you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Here is what you need to know about these two options:

If you are not sure what type of bankruptcy you need to file—a joint petition or an individual petition; Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy—you are certainly not alone. These are complicated issues and there are many different factors to consider. An experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer will be in the best position to help you and your spouse choose the right strategy.

How Does Bankruptcy Treat Separate And Marital Property Or Debt?

Unlike most states, Nevada is a community property state. While some states differentiate between which spouse owns a specific asset that was acquired during the marriage, Nevada law tends to consider all marital assets to be owned equally between the spouses. This is true regardless of whose name the property or the debt incurred to buy the property is in. Some common examples of community property include:

This is in contrast to separate property that was owned by a single spouse prior to the marriage and is not so mixed with community property that it can no longer be identified. Upon discharge, a bankruptcy court will wipe out the individual debt owed by the filing spouse as well as that spouses’ responsibility for any community debt. However, a non-filing spouse will still be on the hook for those community debts even after the bankruptcy case is completed.

A Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Can Answer Your Joint Filing Questions

Before you decide to file for bankruptcy either jointly or separately, it is worth discussing your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorneys at Vohwinkel Law have years of experience helping Las Vegas residents obtain a fresh financial start through the bankruptcy process. Our lead attorney Rory Vohwinkel has helped thousands of clients solve their problems. When you call our Las Vegas law office, you will have a chance to speak to a Nevada spousal bankruptcy lawyer who will:

We are proud to provide future-focused bankruptcy representation to our clients. With a well-documented record of achieving successful results for clients, we will put in the time and resources to help you and your spouse find a solution that fixes your financial issues. As our firm is fully transparent in our fees, you can count on us to deliver cost-effective debt relief and bankruptcy representation.

At Vohwinkel Law, our Nevada bankruptcy attorney has the skills and experience to help spouses navigate the bankruptcy process. Whether you and your partner are preparing a joint bankruptcy petition or only one of you needs to file for bankruptcy, we are more than ready to help. Our goal is to help you find the best path forward. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. From our office in Las Vegas, we handle spousal bankruptcy cases throughout Southern Nevada, including in Henderson, Paradise, Summerlin South, North Las Vegas, Enterprise, and Boulder City.

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