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Can my spouse file for divorce and bankruptcy without my consent?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Marriage is complicated. Divorce is complicated. Bankruptcy is complicated. And the interplay between divorce and bankruptcy can be intricate.

Many divorces come about after a marriage has been damaged by financial difficulties. This means that, by the time one or both spouses start thinking about divorce, they’re already in financial distress, and may be ready to declare bankruptcy.

Can one spouse file for divorce by themselves? Can one spouse file for bankruptcy by themselves? The answer is yes to both these questions, but things can get complicated when one spouse does both.

Filing independently

In Florida, one spouse can file for divorce independently without the consent of the other. State law does not mandate mutual agreement for divorce, provided that the filing spouse meets residency requirements.

Similarly, Florida allows for independent bankruptcy filings by spouses. U.S. bankruptcy laws permit individuals to seek relief irrespective of their marital status. However, the bankruptcy court typically considers the income of the non-filing spouse, and they might still be held responsible for joint debts.

Impact on joint debts

Filing for bankruptcy can discharge the filing spouse’s liability for joint debts, but the non-filing spouse might remain liable unless they also file for bankruptcy. There are also potential tax issues for joint debts that are discharged through bankruptcy.

Conclusion

In Florida, a spouse can initiate divorce and bankruptcy proceedings without the other’s consent under specific circumstances. However, doing so can have consequences for both parties that they might not expect. It can be wise for either spouse in a situation like this to seek out professional advice.

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