As bankruptcy lawyers in Kansas City, it's not uncommon for us to hear questions about keeping bankruptcy secret from spouses.
Many married couples do file for bankruptcy jointly, but there’s no legal requirement to do so.
If you file for bankruptcy alone, your spouse doesn’t legally have to know — although it may be difficult to hide it from them. You will have to disclose your spouse’s income and any jointly owned assets; and if you live in a community property state (Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Washington) you’ll have to disclose all of your spouse’s assets, too.
Also, a bankruptcy trustee may ask you questions about your spouse finances, and may request documents from your non-filing spouse. If a credit card company has your spouse’s social security number on file, they could come after him or her for the money that is owed.
If you're separated from your spouse, you likely won’t have to disclose your spouse’s income in order to determine your eligibility for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
We don't really advise trying to hide bankruptcy from your spouse, in part because there's great value in having your partner's understanding and support during this process. But legally you aren’t obligated to tell him or her.
Castle Law Office has been handling bankruptcies for Kansas City clients from more than 14 years. If you need the fresh start bankruptcy can provide, call us today at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney. Or you can email us and schedule your free consultation.