Clients often wish to file bankruptcy alone while married to protect the other spouses credit. Although it is possible for one spouse to file bankruptcy without the other in the state of Arizona, there may be consequences for doing so that need to be considered.
Arizona is a community property state which means that most assets acquired during the marriage are community assets and most debts incurred during the marriage are community debts. As a result, if your spouse obtains a credit card without your knowledge you are still responsible for this debt.
The biggest issue with filing individually while married is that creditors are able to try and collect from the non-filing spouse upon conclusion of the bankruptcy. Although the creditor has the ability to demand payment from the non-filing spouse, a creditor cannot take any community assets such as wages or any property acquired during the marriage. Therefore, if the non-filing spouse has no separate property (inheritance, vehicle purchased prior to marriage, etc.), the debt should be uncollectible. In conclusion, a spouse may file individually while married in Arizona, but the non-filing spouse may face collection efforts after the bankruptcy discharge and could lose separate property in satisfaction of this debt.
If you are considering filing individually while married you will want to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Phoenix, Tucson, Casa Grande, or Prescott. Our attorneys offering free consultations seven days a week.