Sometimes, a North Carolina couple’s finances can get confusing when looking at which spouse owns which piece of property. Things can get even trickier when it comes to bankruptcy. Spouses are often confronted with the issue of whether one spouse can file on their own for bankruptcy or whether the two spouses automatically must file together.

One spouse can file bankruptcy on their own

In North Carolina, the answer is that you can file bankruptcy on your own even if you are married. Your spouse’s property is not automatically in line to be included as part of the bankruptcy estate. This is because North Carolina is not a community property state. Each spouse is able to acquire property in their own name during the marriage unless it is property that is designated as joint tenancy.

Bankruptcy only applies to your debt

There are benefits for your spouse if you file for bankruptcy. The joint stay that applies to the bankruptcy estate will also apply to property that your spouse owns as well. However, the bankruptcy discharge of the debt that is the reason for filing only applies to the debt that you have in your name and not to your spouse’s debt. In other words, bankruptcy does not get rid of all of the married couple’s debt. This only happens if the married couple makes the bankruptcy filing together.

If you are in financial distress and would like to know how bankruptcy might help you get a fresh start, you may want to contact a bankruptcy law attorney. The attorney may explain the process so that you can see how and if you would benefit from such a filing. Bankruptcy might be the answer to your suffocating debt, so you should keep an open mind when making the decision whether to make the filing.