What Does Filing Personal Bankruptcy Mean If You’re Married?

If you’re married, and you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, it’s natural to have questions about how your financial situation will impact your partner.

In 2019, there are over 14 million married people living in Canada.

It’s understandable to assume that debts are shared when you say ‘I do,’ but this is not always the case.

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What does filing personal bankruptcy mean if you’re married?

For many people facing bankruptcy, their first thought will be to protect their spouse and children.

Polls suggest that half of Canadians have lied to their partner about money, and almost 20% of couples argue about money at least once a week.

The impact of bankruptcy will depend largely on who is responsible for the debt.

Personal debts

If you have personal debts, these remain your responsibility, regardless of your marital status.

If you take out a loan in your name, for example, you alone are responsible for making repayments.

When filing for bankruptcy, this particular debt would not impact your partner in any way.

If you file for bankruptcy, and all your debts are personal, rather than joint debts, your spouse will not be affected.

Your husband or wife will not be required to pay back your debts and their credit rating should not decrease.

Joint debts

The process of filing for bankruptcy becomes slightly more complex if there are joint debts involved.

If you have outstanding debts, which your spouse has co-signed or provided guarantees for, they will be impacted by your decision to proceed with bankruptcy.

Joint debts are not the sole responsibility of the individual, and creditors have the right to pursue the spouse for repayment of these debts, despite the fact that you will be protected once you have filed for bankruptcy.

It’s common for married couples to have shared debts, including supplementary credit cards.

This is a credit card linked to a main account.

In most cases, supplementary credit cards are considered a joint debt and, therefore, they become the responsibility of the individual who is not being protected by bankruptcy.

What happens if a spouse can’t repay debts?

If you have joint debts, and your spouse cannot afford to cover them on their own, there is a possibility of filing a joint bankruptcy or a joint consumer proposal.

The best thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to seek expert advice from experienced advisors.

Our team is here to help, and we can help you explore options based on your individual circumstances.

Bankruptcy and divorce

When a couple gets divorced, most assets are split, but this is not true for joint debts.

Debts are not divided between the couple.

Joint debts will continue to be the responsibility of both parties until they are paid off.


If you’re married and you’re having financial troubles, it’s natural to worry about how your situation will affect your spouse.

For more information and expert, tailored advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Canadian Bankruptcies

How to File for Bankruptcy
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy FAQs
How Does Bankruptcy Work?
What is the Cost of Bankruptcy in Canada?
How to Rebuild Credit Following Bankruptcy
Personal Bankruptcy in Canada
What Debts are Erased in Bankruptcy?

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