Should I file for bankruptcy before I get married?

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In a Nutshell

It is usually easier to file for a bankruptcy before getting married. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it can be beneficial to do so earlier so that you are not bringing debts into the relationship.

Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice.  
Updated July 22, 2020


It is usually easier to file for a bankruptcy before getting married. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it can be beneficial to do so earlier so that you are not bringing debts into the relationship.

It is also likely easier to qualify through the means test to file a Chapter 7 case when you only need to use your income. Once you are married you will need to show household income, so if your spouse is a higher earner, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7 anymore.

If you and your spouse-to-be already have significant joint debts, however, you might be better off waiting and filing a joint case together. To learn more, check out our article on this in our Learning Center.



About the author
Attorney Eva Bacevice

Eva G. Bacevice graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2001. She practiced law for close to a decade in the area of consumer bankruptcy. She now works in higher education as an Academic Advisor for undergraduate students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business,... read more

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

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