Bankruptcy can be filed by an individual or by a married couple. If married, a spouse can file individually or a married couple can file jointly. When you file bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect which prevents further creditor activity against you. It is like a bubble of protection from your creditors while your case is administered through the court. A bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as ten years.
Generally, debts owed to a governmental agency are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, such as delinquent taxes, student loans, and child support. Other non-dischargeable debts include liability stemming from criminal acts. Only debts included on your Petition are eligible for discharge.
Federal law provides exemptions that can be applied to certain assets, such as a vehicle, household furniture, your residence, tools of the trade, and other such items. Seeking representation by a qualified attorney when considering bankruptcy is essential to ensure that your assets are protected by these available exemptions.