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I live in Sandy Springs, GA, and have too much debt

Question: I live in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and now I need to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy because I got into debt gambling on sports and making bad stock market investments. But my wife has great credit and she has no reason to file. I want to know if I file, does my wife have to even provide any information about her income. She’s a doctor and her income is good.

I got into trouble because thought I could make some easy cash betting on baseball games and football games. I played some minor league ball in the Atlanta Braves organization so I think I know the game pretty well. I have lost a lot of money betting on the Braves this season and I lost money on the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons during the football season.

I went to some casinos in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I won a bunch of money at first. But then I lost it over about a week of intense betting.

Now my credit cards are at their limit and I’m secretly borrowing money from my aunt. My wife doesn’t know any of this. I’ve been meaning to tell her, because she deserves to know. But I want to know if the bankruptcy court needs any information from her and if I file does she need to file too. That's why I need a bankruptcy lawyer near Sandy Springs.

P.V. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer: In considering whether an individual qualifies for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court requires that the entire household income be reported, including income from the non-filing spouse. That does not mean, of course, that your spouse has to file. We have handled many bankruptcy filings where just one spouse files; in fact, it’s very common.

In considering this financial information, they also include any expenses of the non-filing spouse for which they may be separately liable (student loans, car payments, etc.).

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