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Should You File for Bankruptcy Alone or With Your Spouse? June 30, 2020

Downtown Honolulu, Honolulu
Should You File for Bankruptcy Alone or With Your Spouse?, Honolulu, Hawaii

If your family is struggling financially, eliminating debts through bankruptcy could be the answer. While deciding to file may be easy when you need debt relief, determining precisely how to proceed can be challenging. Whether you should declare bankruptcy on your own or submit a joint petition with your spouse will depend on the circumstances. To help you decide, learn more about both approaches below. 

The Pros & Cons of Filing Alone

If you declare bankruptcy alone, the proceedings will wipe out applicable debts in your name only. As such, your spouse will still be responsible for any debts you’ve taken out together. If you don’t have many—or any—shared obligations, submitting the petition on your own may be best.

Discharging your debts won’t affect your spouse’s credit. That means if your family intends to finance a large purchase in the future—like a vehicle or even a house—your spouse may still be able to secure the loan on their own. 

The assets your spouse holds separately will also be shielded from the debt relief proceedings because Hawaii is not a community property state. 

The Pros & Cons of Filing Jointly 

debt reliefIf you and your spouse both have an overwhelming amount of debt, filing a joint petition may be the best approach. In doing so, you can discharge both individual and shared debts.

Since Hawaii allows couples who file jointly to double their exemptions (excluding the homestead one), you may be able to retain more of your property. You’ll also save more on legal fees and court costs than if you were to file two separate petitions for individual bankruptcies.


To explore your bankruptcy options, turn to Greg Dunn, Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney. Practicing out of Honolulu, HI, this seasoned lawyer has resolved more than 12,000 bankruptcy cases. To explore all the services he provides, visit his website. To start your journey toward debt relief, call (808) 524-4529. 

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