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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

Can I file bankruptcy without my wife?

Question: I want to know if I can file bankruptcy myself, without my wife. My wife doesn’t want to file and she doesn’t need to file. I’m the one with all the debt and my wife isn’t really on any of it. I’m on the credit cards, some personal loans and I also have some medical debt from a back operation.

From the time we got married, we have always kept our money separated. We each have our own checking account and savings account. We split up our bills and I pay some and she pays some. So our finances are truly split.

And my wife doesn’t want to go bankrupt. She says it’s all my fault for investing in a business with friends form Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University. But I thought we had a good business plan but it didn’t work out because I think one of my partners embezzled cash.

Plus, my wife and I are probably heading for a divorce because we’ve been fighting about money and she’s accused me of having an affair with one of her friends from her tennis team.

And I’m pretty shocked because I found out that her and some of her friends, who are mostly married ladies here in North Fulton County in places like Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell and Johns Creek, have been soliciting sex on Craigslist and Backpage. Yes, these suburban women are taking out advertisements and having some sort of sexual relations with men for money. My wife only admitted to doing it a few times and she said she did it to earn some extra spending money. She said she mostly only gives massages. I’m kind of depressed because I think my wife has a part-time job as an escort, prostitute or call girl, whatever you want to call it.

So I am writing to you to ask if both spouses have to file bankruptcy together, or can just one spouse file? Since all the debts are in my name, I just want to file.

T.M. in Alpharetta, GA

Answer: Don’t worry, both spouses do not have to file bankruptcy. Many times, only the husband or the wife files, and the other party does not. This is extremely common; we see it every day. And it is true for both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Many couples keep separate finances. They may have separate checking accounts, savings accounts and pay different household bills. Sometimes just one spouse is on the mortgage, for example. Some couples keep their finances separated for many years. We have seen marriages of over 30 years where the couples’ finances have been totally split and they don’t even share a checking or savings account.

This is a common question for an Alpharetta bankruptcy lawyer because sometimes just one spouse accumulates a lot of debt and many people don’t realize that married couples do not have to file bankruptcy together and that only one spouse can file.

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