If you’re married but filing for bankruptcy alone, your spouse doesn’t need to attend your 341(a) meeting of creditors. Even so, your spouse can come with you for support. Read on to learn more about your non-filing spouse and your bankruptcy meeting of creditors.
(If you're not sure if you should file for bankruptcy alone, read Bankruptcy Filing Considerations for Married Couples.)
When you file for bankruptcy, you’re required to attend a hearing called the meeting of creditors. At the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer your case will examine you under oath about your financial affairs.
If you file for bankruptcy without your spouse, only you must attend the meeting. Your non-filing spouse isn’t part of the case and isn’t required to be there.
The meeting of creditors is open to the public. Several debtors will attend the same meeting and will take turns coming forward to talk with the trustee while others watch.
The trustee will:
Since it’s a public meeting, your spouse can come with you for support and observe your examination. But your spouse shouldn’t expect to come up to the trustee’s desk or answer any questions on your behalf (and it would be unlikely that you’d want that to happen).
(Learn more about what you can expect at the meeting of creditors.)
Even if you’re filing for bankruptcy alone, you must disclose your spouse’s income and any jointly owned assets in your bankruptcy paperwork. And although your spouse doesn’t have to attend your meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee might ask questions about your spouse's financial affairs. Further, you might need to provide documentation (such as recent paystubs) to verify your spouse’s income or assets.
(Learn more about the bankruptcy petition and schedules that you'll have to fill out and file.)