If you are married in California, you do not have to file for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse; there may be situations where it is better for you to file on your own. The best thing to do depends on your debts and your own specific situation.
Community property states will have different rules
When you file for bankruptcy, certain property of yours could end up in the hands of your creditors so that your debt to them will be discharged. Your major concern may be whether your spouse’s property can be taken as well. In California, the laws of community property are used for a married couple. This means that couples have no separate property if it was acquired after marriage. All property is held in the name of the community, which is the marriage. This can limit some of the benefits of a bankruptcy filing if it is done by only one spouse.
Both spouse’s assets and debts are a part of the community
This is different from a separate property state where only the spouse filing for bankruptcy has their property as part of the estate. Nonetheless, bankruptcy can still be an option for you as a Californian because it means that the debts of both spouses could be considered a part of the marital estate. In California, while you could file bankruptcy separately, it may make more sense to file jointly because you can get relief from all of your debts as a married couple.
You may want to consult with a bankruptcy law attorney to learn more about whether and how bankruptcy might help you. Bankruptcy may help you get a fresh start and be relieved of much of the debt that has overtaken you. An attorney may explain how you can start life again and get your financial situation back on track after the bankruptcy process has been completed.