There are a few situations in which someone might want to file bankruptcy from prison:
#1 – The prisoner and spouse have joint debts they want to deal with.
In this case, it might make sense to file bankruptcy, and it can usually be done. Your attorney would have to file a motion to excuse appearance, which just allows the prisoner to miss the court appearance as long as his or her spouse can still appear in court.
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In this situation, the prisoner’s spouse should contact a bankruptcy lawyer to get started.
#2 – The prisoner’s spouse needs to use the car, but it’s in danger of repossession.
Usually, it’s very easy to stop repossession through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But when the car is in your spouse’s name, and your spouse is in prison, things get more complicated because only the prisoner can file for his own car. You’d still want to file Chapter 13, but your attorney would likely need to visit the prison and work closely with the courts to get your case approved.
Like in the above situation, the prisoner’s spouse should call a bankruptcy lawyer to get started.
#3 – Prisoner has a lot of debt.
If the issue is just that the prisoner has a lot of debt, I’d recommend not filing from prison. There isn’t much point to filing bankruptcy until you’re released, and it’s very difficult to do from prison.
On the other hand, once you’re released it’s pretty common for former inmates to file bankruptcy. At that point you have a much better sense of your debts, can get around to meet your lawyer or go to court, and have the freedom to rebuild your credit.
What Should You Do Next?
Filing bankruptcy with a spouse prison can be very complicated, but if you’re the spouse of a prisoner, our Memphis bankruptcy lawyers can help you decide what to do. We want the process to go smoothly, so we try to make it as simple as possible. We walk through it with you AND the bankruptcy court, which will be looking for extra information and might be more concerned about your case than normal.
Some people attempt to file bankruptcy on their own (DIY), but I definitely don’t recommend that in any of the above situations. Your attorney will be crucial if you’re trying to file while one spouse is in prison.
We usually can help if the spouse calls. Contact me if you have any questions.