Does my wife also have to file bankruptcy?

Question: I want to know if I file for bankruptcy, does my wife have to file also.

I need to file because I’ve racked up debt that I’m finding hard to pay back. I borrowed a lot of money on my credit card when I had my hours cut at work. I work at a hospital and I’m a doctor but with the state of medicine today it’s getting harder for a doctor to make it. Don’t get me wrong, the pay is still good, but it’s not like it was.

I was working at a hospital and they had to cut my hours because the hospital was not doing well financially. I think I can get another job if I moved, but I don’t want to move; I want to stay here in Johns Creek.

So I put all kinds of stuff on the credit card, and the balances have gotten too high. I admit that I put restaurant bills and other entertainment purchases on the cards. I bought clothes, leased a car, bought jewelry and purchased Atlanta Falcons season tickets and Atlanta Braves tickets.

My wife is a user on some of my credit cards and she used them also. She’s not on all of them, but she is on a few of my cards. And she has some credit cards of her own; she has a Visa and an American Express.

I want to know if my wife has to file bankruptcy if I do. Or can I just file myself. I think we can handle her debt, but not mine. I think we can actually pay her debt off in a few years. But my debt is much more than hers, it’s almost $150,000.

H.H. in Johns Creek, GA

Answer: If you decide to file jointly, your wife would be included in the bankruptcy and therefore she would be discharged from her liability on any debts in her name.

If she does not file jointly with you, however, she would remain liable on her accounts in addition to any joint accounts after your bankruptcy has concluded.

Also, if she is not included in the bankruptcy filing it would not be reported on her credit report that she had filed, which may make it easier for her to obtain credit in the future.

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