California’s status as a Community Property state often leads to the assumption that if one spouse files for bankruptcy, both must declare bankruptcy. However, this isn’t always the case. Understanding the nuances of individual spousal bankruptcy can help you make informed decisions. For expert guidance, contact Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC at 800.400.9000 for a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer in Pomona, CA.

When One Spouse Can Declare Bankruptcy

In specific situations, one spouse can declare bankruptcy without requiring the other to do so. This generally applies if the debt in question is considered separate property. Separate property includes debts acquired before the marriage or those excluded from community property. In such cases, the debtor spouse can file for bankruptcy individually, potentially shielding the other spouse from the bankruptcy process.

Precautions for Married Couples

Even if it seems that only one spouse needs to file for bankruptcy, it’s crucial for married couples to seek legal representation before making any decisions. The reason? Assets can sometimes transition from being separate to community property, complicating the bankruptcy process. If you’re unsure about how to proceed, contacting Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC can provide the clarity you need. They specialize in helping couples navigate these complex situations.

Debunking Common Bankruptcy Misconceptions in California

The issue of whether both spouses must declare bankruptcy is just one of many misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy in California. Here are a few others:

Misconception 1: Losing Your Job Due to Bankruptcy

Some people fear that declaring bankruptcy could lead to job loss. However, the law is clear: employers cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants due to bankruptcy or debts incurred prior to filing. This protection ensures that your employment status remains secure despite your financial situation.

Misconception 2: Losing Your Home and Car

Another common misconception is that filing for bankruptcy automatically means losing your home and car. In reality, with the help of a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer in Pomona, CA, like those at Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC, you can often retain these assets. The key is to stay current on your car and home loans. As long as you continue to make payments, lenders won’t foreclose or repossess your property. Once your loans are paid off, you’ll own them free and clear.

If you have equity in your home, California law allows you to protect a significant amount—up to $175,000, depending on factors like age, health, and household size. Additionally, up to $25,000 in equity in other personal property, such as cars, can also be protected. For more detailed information, refer to the California exemption chart available through Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC.

Get Help with Your Bankruptcy Today from a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Pomona, CA

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is never easy, but it can often be the right choice for achieving financial stability. If you’re considering bankruptcy and have questions about the best way to proceed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Contact Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC at 800.400.9000 for a free consultation. They specialize in California bankruptcy and will guide you through every step of the process, ensuring you make informed and strategic decisions.