The short answer is that bankruptcy can help protect your spouse.

Does My Financial Status Impact My Spouse?

Maryland is a common law State, in other words, it is not a community property State.  As a common law State, the debt you take on in your sole name is your sole responsibility, it is not your spouse’s responsibility.

Credit companies represent that one spouse’s debts and credit score do not effect the credit score of the other spouse.  However, if one spouse has excessive debt or a poor credit score and the couple seeks to secure joint debt, then the poor credit score or excessive debt will negatively affect the couple’s ability to secure joint debt.

What Can Bankruptcy Do For You?

Filing for Bankruptcy can do

  • Eliminate debts
  • Stop the foreclosure of your home
  • Prevent repossession or also force the creditor to return your vehicle or property even if it is repossessed.
  • Stop creditor actions like a wage garnishment or debt collecting harassment.

Filing bankruptcy will have an immediate negative effect on your credit score, but the bankruptcy will give you a fresh start.  If you take advantage of your fresh start, you can vastly improve your credit score in as quickly as a year.

Does Your Spouse Need To File For Bankruptcy?

You can file bankruptcy in your individual capacity, even if you are married.  Further, you do not need your spouse’s consent to file bankruptcy.  Filing bankruptcy is your right.  If you and your spouse are living together; however, then you will be required to account to your spouse’s income, if any.  Your spouse’s income will also be considered in the means test.  If you file bankruptcy and you have joint debt with your spouse, your spouse will continue to be liable for the joint debt.

Am I Responsible For Spouse’s Debt?

In Maryland, you are not responsible for your spouse’s debt.


Bankruptcy can be a frustrating and complicated process. If you plan to file for bankruptcy and are confused about the type of bankruptcy, you need to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Maryland.

At Paré & Associates, LLC (formerly Law Office of Alice Paré), we have been helping clients in Germantown, Boyds, and throughout Montgomery County for more than thirty (30) years.

Our attorneys are available to meet with you in person, over the phone, or online – however, you prefer.

If you are ready to consult with an attorney, or just need some questions answered, contact us here, go online to schedule an appointment, or call us at (301)515-1190 to set up an initial consultation.