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When you are considering a Tennessee bankruptcy filing, you may be wondering whether you should file on your own or as a married couple. The answer may depend on the laws of the state in which you live. Tennessee is a separate property state, making it more conducive to filing bankruptcy without your spouse. You have the ability to do so and are not required to make a joint bankruptcy filing.

In a separate filing, only your debts and property are at issue

When you file bankruptcy separately, only your property is subject to being turned over to your creditors. Your spouse, who has their own property, does not have to surrender it for discharge of your debts. At the same time, only your debt is up for discharge. Any debt that is in your spouse’s name is not dischargeable if he or she is not a part of the bankruptcy filing.

You should consider whether separate filing is right for you

The automatic stay that you benefit from during bankruptcy will also apply to your spouse during the proceedings. This means that even though the filing is in your name, creditors cannot take steps to collect from your spouse either during the bankruptcy process. However, there is no “community discharge” of debt in Tennessee. Whether it makes sense to file for bankruptcy separately without your spouse is a different issue. You need to consider your own specific situation to see if filing with or without your spouse is the right thing to do.

One way to figure out your best possible course of action is to see a bankruptcy law attorney to discuss your situation. The attorney may advise you how bankruptcy might help you get a fresh financial start in life free from the debt that is suffocating you. The attorney may also be able to draft the paperwork on your behalf to file with the court and then help you navigate the process.