Can Filing for Bankruptcy Affect Your Partner?

Bankruptcy is a legal procedure devised to reduce the debt burden by complete or partial elimination, followed by repaying a smaller portion of the owed amount. Hire a bankruptcy attorney in Kingston, NY, to get clear legal guidance regarding the bankruptcy process.

Bankruptcy provides debt relief but also has severe long-term consequences in all areas of life. However, it affects you and those around you negatively. If you are wondering about the effects of bankruptcy, there are some instances in which it affects your spouse. 

Credit score

If the spouse is not a co-debtor or liable for the debt by law, the bankruptcy will not affect your partner’s credit score. If your partner is a co-debtor, it will also appear on their credit report. This will be followed by further action against the non-filing spouse by the creditors.

The obligation to file for bankruptcy

It is a common misconception among spouses that if one of them files for bankruptcy, the other has to follow suit as well. Only the debtor is allowed to file bankruptcy. In cases of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is allowed to file bankruptcy jointly, but it is not necessary in Chapter 13 cases.

Loss of employment

No one will lose their job if you wonder whether your spouse will lose their job after filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law protects the employment of both spouses. Generally, employers do not get informed of bankruptcy. But even if they do, it is rare for them to fire people because of this. If you or your partner are fired because of bankruptcy, contact a legal attorney as soon as possible.

Effect on property

Filing bankruptcy has no significant effect on property owned by your spouse. But if the property is co-owned by both spouses, then the consequences depend on their state’s law. Some states have common law property under which co-owned assets are part of the bankruptcy estate of the person filing bankruptcy. In community property states, the property held by couples is jointly owned and considered a part of the bankruptcy estate.

Responsibility for repayment of debt

In the event of bankruptcy, your spouse’s creditors cannot hold you responsible for repaying the debts. Your spouse is liable for payment only if they have cosigned for the debt. 


Creditors generally do not approach your spouse unless the spouse is a co-debtor. If both spouses jointly own the debt, the creditors will pursue the non-filing spouse to repay the debt, as only one spouse files bankruptcy. The other is still liable for the payment of the debt.