Bad Ideas for the Bankruptcy Bound: Keeping Your Filing From Your Spouse Skip to main content

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Bad Ideas for the Bankruptcy Bound: Keeping Your Filing From Your Spouse


In this special series, entitled “Bad Ideas for the Bankruptcy Bound,” we’ll introduce what to avoid when bankruptcy is your next, best step.

Love may move mountains,
but money can crumble the strongest marriage.
– Ron, Lieber, The New York Times

Everyone who’s married knows: money can be a primary cause of marital strife. As a result, in this especially difficult economic climate—full of job insecurity, rising mortgage costs, health care uncertainties and other mounting money woes—many debtors who have accumulated all kinds of debt without the knowledge of their spouse are sometimes tempted to file for bankruptcy “secretly” and avoid sharing the financial “bad news” with their spouse.

Regardless of the fiscal reason, this path can lead to losing it all with your better half. While one petitioning spouse doesn’t mean the other has to file for bankruptcy also, it’s assuredly never a good idea to hide a filing from your husband or wife. Here’s why:

Disclosure of Your Debts is Inevitable
While married people like you have a legal right to file for bankruptcy by your lonesome, what you don’t have readily available is any way to keep the news of your bankruptcy filing from your spouse. When you stop paying your creditors in anticipation of your bankruptcy filing, inevitably these same creditors will begin calling and writing your home—the same space you share with your unknowing spouse.  Remember, the bad news of your insolvency can come from you or them, with a bit less sensitivity from the latter.

You’ll Need Your Spouse’s Support
Married folks who file for bankruptcy must provide information regarding their spouse's pay, last year’s tax returns, proof of retirement and an array of other information that might require your better half’s information and input.  Keep in mind, your requests for this information will ultimately raise your spouse’s suspicions and the likelihood of your spouse finding out—one way or another.

Joint Accounts Automatically Get Your Spouse Involved
Filing for bankruptcy means that if your spouse’s name appears on any of your debts—such as joint credit cards, mortgages, or the like—they’ll find out the hard way when creditors pursue them for an alternative way to get paid.  In addition, if your spouse is using one of the forms of credit that will be included in the bankruptcy filing, you’ll need to tell him or her to stop using this credit before you file—another reason your spouse will be alerted to your insolvency.

Don’t Risk More Stress in Insolvency
Obviously, hiding your debts from your spouse is dishonest. Hiding your bankruptcy from your spouse, as you’ve seen, is almost impossible.  Both non-disclosures will add unnecessary stress and strife to your relationships. And amid these harsh economic times, life can be tough enough without all of this interpersonal withholding.  The first step to a fresh financial start together, is being honest about your bankruptcy with your spouse. Don’t forget, there is no more ruinous a financial move than a divorce and no greater road to divorce than fiscal dishonesty.

Knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help lessen the marital stress of bankruptcy, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a financially viable and secure future.  A good bankruptcy attorney can also dispel the many myths and stigmas of bankruptcy, offering truthful information about this powerful form of debt elimination. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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