While you have the legal right to file for bankruptcy without spouse knowing , practically it would be difficult to file for bankruptcy without your spouse finding out about you filing for bankruptcy. There will be mail and paperwork that comes to your home regarding your bankruptcy. There may be calls that come in and your spouse could inadvertently answer the phone and find out that way. You will likely need to provide some of their financial information to file for a personal bankruptcy such as recent pay stubs, tax returns, and other documents that your spouse may have that would be relevant to the bankruptcy filing. If you both owe any money together, he or she would have to be listed in the bankruptcy paperwork filed with the court and they will receive notice of the bankruptcy filing and subsequent documents filed by your attorney, the creditors and the court in the case. If the couple owes money together then they are both responsible for the debt but if only one individual has inquired the debt then the other without the debt in most cases is not liable for the debt. It will also show on your credit report for nearly 10 years, with the possibility of showing up on theirs. Therefore it would be very difficult to do it without their knowledge. Having your spouse find out on their own could possibly make your marital situation worse. While your spouse will not be personally notified of you filing for a bankruptcy, the way the system is set up will make it almost inevitable that he or she would find out.
The bottom line is though is that you personally are responsible for your own debts and while you are legally able to file for bankruptcy without spouse knowing, that would be very complicated and would likely only make matters worse. It is likely better to face the situation head on now rather than being bind sided about it later and risking the worst. If you are facing this situation where you feel you cannot tell your spouse then come talk to Douglas Barrett here at the law office we deal with these situations on almost a daily basis. You are not alone and there is a better way out!