Most people have a working knowledge of what bankruptcy is, but the intricacies of how it actually works are more confusing. While the majority of the population realizes that married couples can file for bankruptcy together and single individuals can file for bankruptcy alone, it may be more surprising to find out that a married individual can file for bankruptcy without involving their spouse in Florida.

The premise of being able to file for bankruptcy without involving a spouse goes back to the fact that most states don’t recognize the concept of community property. That is to say that property acquired by an individual is property of that person, even if he or she is married. This principle is referred to as common law property.

Much like property is not automatically owned by both partners within a marriage, the debt of one partner does not automatically become the debt of both partners. The only debt that any individual is legally responsible for is debt that he or she signed up to repay. While most states don’t recognize the concept of community property, no states recognize community debt.

A person who is considering filing for personal bankruptcy with or without their spouse’s involvement may want to speak to an attorney who is well-versed in both state and federal bankruptcy laws. This attorney may review any assets that are owned by their client, delve deep into their financial records and look closely at any sort of debt repayment agreements that the client has entered into. At this point, the attorney may better advise their client on how to navigate through the difficult process of filing for and receiving bankruptcy protection.