If you have credit just in your name, and your spouse has credit just in their name, and only one of you has financial problems, it's an easy decision that only the one that has financial problems should file bankruptcy.
Getting married does NOT "merge" your credit files. If you apply for credit together, yes, both your files are shown. But the only thing that causes both of you to suffer when only one spouse has financial problems, is if you have joint credit accounts, according to credit expert Phillip Tirone in his recent blog post, "Marry Your Spouse, Not Their Credit Score."
Many times, people come into my Houston debt relief law office and only one spouse wants to file bankruptcy, so that they can "preserve the other spouse's credit." Well that is fine, if all of the debts that will be listed in the bankruptcy are in the spouse-to-file's name.
But if people have been married a long time, it's common that they have one or more "joint" accounts, on which they are both equally liable. And it's not a good idea, as Mr. Tirone explains in this article, for only one spouse to have credit, period. Both should have some credit, in case something happens to the other spouse.
In my experience, if the debt that you and your spouse have or a substantial part of it is joint debt, it is better for both spouses to file bankruptcy. After bankruptcy, we do a free "credit clean-up" to make your credit as good as it can be.
And I also offer all of my clients Mr. Tirone's "7 Steps to a 720 Score" credit rebuilding program. If you follow his instructions, you can rebuild a 720 or higher credit score, within 12 to 24 months after your bankruptcy discharge.
Have you had experiences with a spouse and credit? Please give us your comments or questions below!