Bankruptcy for same sex couples in North Carolina has caused some concern for same sex couples, bankruptcy trustees and bankruptcy attorneys due to the conflicting nature of federal and state laws. However, the good news is that attorneys and same sex couples can move forward with a bankruptcy plan with confidence in Charlotte, NC. The choice to file a petition individually or jointly in a same sex bankruptcy comes down to a few questions.
First, if the same sex couple is legally married in another state, then for the purpose of a bankruptcy filing, that marriage will be acknowledged and allow the couple the option to file jointly. Married heterosexual couples have the option of filing jointly OR individually, and so the same option is afforded to legally married same sex couples.
Second, in instances where the same sex couple lives in the same household but has not been legally married in a state that acknowledges same sex unions, those couples do not have the option to file a joint petition. Again, this mirrors the bankruptcy filing options of heterosexual couples who are not married, but who live in the same household. Ultimately this does not frustrate the ability to accomplish the desired outcome in a same sex bankruptcy.
Fear not, same sex couples who maintain a single household still have the ability to get the relief provided by the bankruptcy code—you just need to file separate bankruptcy petitions. As a bankruptcy attorney in Charlotte, I am accustomed to filing individual bankruptcy petitions for both married and unmarried couples. Whether because one spouse doesn’t have any debt, or wants to preserve their credit score, there are several instances where the best option is filing for one individual in a couple—same sex or otherwise.
Your bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the steps to address a household bankruptcy where only one member of the household is filing, so that you can file with confidence that your objectives will be achieved. Often, the attorney will file a second filing on the heels of the first, to address the remaining debt the couple desires relief from. In this regard, a same sex couple achieves the same result as a married heterosexual couple.
If you have any questions, please call 704.749.7747 today to speak with me about your options.