Can Lesbians File for Bankruptcy in New York City?

Of course, while women’s and gay rights may still have a ways to go yet your sexual orientation will not even be disclosed in your bankruptcy unless you are filing jointly with your spouse. And the good news there is that legally married gay and lesbian couples in New York City can now file bankruptcy together with their spouse with the same rights and privileges as married heterosexual couples. Gay or straight, whether or not you SHOULD file bankruptcy with your spouse depends on your specific financial situation. If you are underwater on your bills, and think bankruptcy could be right for you consult a qualified attorney in New York City familiar with filing for gay and lesbian couples.

Just two weeks ago the United States Justice department said it will be extending new benefits to same sex couples. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that same sex couples will now be allowed the same spousal privileges as heterosexual couples. Rights previously held for heterosexual couples can no longer be kept from same sex couples including the right to file for bankruptcy jointly. Like straight couples same sex couples are no longer required to testify against each other and will also now qualify for a number of benefit programs from the justice department including the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund here in New York City among others.

If you decide to file bankruptcy with your lesbian spouse the biggest factor in passing the bankruptcy means test will be the size of your household. Definitions and standard of a legally defined “household” are very similar to what you might have already seen from the IRS. Your bankruptcy petition and the means test will calculate the total income and expenses for your household to see if you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. In bankruptcy a household is most commonly defined as “heads on beds”. In other words, if you are legally married but living apart you do not need to include your spouse’s income on your bankruptcy petition. Even though you now have the right to file jointly, it might still be in your best interests to file bankruptcy on your own, or for you and your spouse to file two separate bankruptcy cases.

Bankruptcy is a big decision, but it will provide immediate relief from your debts and will put you and your spouse on the road to financial recovery and mental well-being on day one. If you live in New York City and have questions about filing for bankruptcy with your same-sex spouse please contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free bankruptcy consultation today. We only practice bankruptcy law, and maintain a 99% Chapter 7 discharge record in New York City as of 8/31/16.

This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading no attorney client privilege has been created.