Can Only One Spouse File for Bankruptcy in Utah?

When one spouse has incurred debt in his or her name only, he or she can file for bankruptcy without requiring their spouse to do so as well. However, in filing for bankruptcy, salary and other asset information of the non-filing spouse is required to be disclosed, in order to determine if the filing spouse qualifies for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Additionally, while a non-filing spouse is not liable for a filing spouse’s debt, if joint property is owned between them, the property may be not be immune to actions on the part of creditors.

When only one spouse should to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy While only one spouse may be filing for bankruptcy, the court will consider household income in order to determine if the filing spouse is eligible to file for Chapter 7. In cases where a filing spouse has little disposable income but a non-filing spouse earns substantially more, the income of both will be reported on bankruptcy forms. If the household income is more than the qualifying median income required for filing Chapter 7, the filing spouse may have to file under Chapter 13. In either case, the court will consider what your current monthly income is by deducting expenses your spouse pays that are not related to monthly household costs. After determining your current monthly income, the court will then determine you disposable income. More information available at

When one spouse should file under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy If the household income of a filing spouse disqualifies him or her for Chapter 7, he or she may still be able to file under Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13, a trustee is appointed by the court in order to administer the repayment of debt according to a plan agreed to by the filing spouse’s creditors. While the non-filing spouse will not be involved in the Chapter 13 repayment plan, his or her income will be considered when determining the repayment schedule. More information available at


A debtor who has received a discharge may voluntarily repay any discharged debt. A debtor may repay a discharged debt even though it can no longer be legally enforced. Sometimes a debtor agrees to repay a debt because it is owed to a family member or because it represents an obligation to an individual for whom the debtor’s reputation is important, such as a family doctor.

Douglas Barrett Named For Ninth Year to Utah Legal Elite

For Immediate Release

Orem, UT – Douglas L. Barrett, for the ninth consecutive year, has been named as one of the “Legal Elite” lawyers in the State of Utah in a recent poll conducted by Utah Business, a state-wide publication. The announcement was made in the March 2014 Edition of the magazine.

The “Legal Elite” represent those Utah lawyers who their peers believe are the very best in their respective areas of practice. Barrett was selected for his expertise in “bankruptcy law.”

Mr. Barrett opened his own bankruptcy practice, Law office of Douglas Barrett, LLC, in Orem in 2001. He is well known for his aggressive representation of consumer debtors. During the past several years he has helped thousands of people file for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. He is a member of the Utah State Bar Association, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and has been a frequent speaker on consumer bankruptcy law and personal finance issues throughout the State of Utah.


U.S. Bankruptcy Court Announces Filing Fee Increase

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah has announced that the fee they charge you to file for bankruptcy protection will be increasing. The filing fee will increase in a Chapter 7 case from $306 to $355. In a Chapter 13 case the filing fee will increase from $281 to $310.

The good news is that until May 30th you can still file and get the lower filing fee rate. I suggest that if you are planning on filing anytime in the near future you do it now before the higher rates go into effect.  Contact you Utah Bankruptcy Law Firm the Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC to get started on you case.

BIG MISTAKE: Getting a retirement loan or cashing in an IRA instead of filing bankruptcy

Unfortunately I see this mistake way too often; people try to put off the inevitable by borrowing from a 401(k) or cashing out their IRA in order to pay credit cards. You do not have to do that.

I find that it is better to address the underlying problem and save your retirement since Social Security may not be around when you need it. If it is around, you certainly will not receive enough to live on comfortably. So, before you reach for your retirement funds, you should learn how a Utah bankruptcy might benefit you. In Utah visit us at Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC


A discharge may be revoked under certain circumstances. For instance, a trustee, creditor, or the United States trustee may request that the court revoke the debtor’s discharge in a chapter 7 case based on:

• Allegations that the debtor obtained the discharge fraudulently;
• the debtor failed to disclose the fact that he or she acquired or became entitled to acquire property that would constitute property of the bankruptcy estate or;
• the debtor committed one of several acts of impropriety described in section 727(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Usually, a request to revoke the discharge must be filed within one year after the granting of the discharge or, in some cases, before the date that the case is closed. It is up to the court to determine whether such allegations are true and, if so, to revoke the discharge.

In a chapter 13 case, if confirmation of a plan or the discharge is obtained through fraud, the court can revoke the order of confirmation or discharge. More information on filing bankruptcy in Utah can be found at DLBLAW.COM.

Are there alternatives to bankruptcy?

Credit Counseling?

Before you consider bankruptcy, you may want to explore “non-bankruptcy alternatives.” In the 2005 changes to the bankruptcy law you are now required to take a “credit counseling” course before you would be eligible to file bankruptcy. The Utah Law Office of Douglas L. Barrett, LLC can help direct you an approved Utah credit counseling provider. The fact remains, however, that need to determine what your debts are in order to determine what direction you should follow in your financial future. I find it helpful if you will make a list of the people you think you own money to prior to a consultation at my office.

Informal payment plans?
Once you know what you owe, you may want to create your own payment plan whereby you allocate portions of your disposable income to your various creditors. Your negotiating position improves if you can offer your creditors a lump sum payment. If you can get your creditors to agree to a payment plan, you should confirm your understanding in writing. As part of your agreement to pay, you should insist that negative credit references be removed when you finish paying your obligations.
Consumer Credit Counseling?
There are other “credit counseling services” you may see in the phone book, advertised on the radio or advertised through unsolicited mail. Some of these services offer to clear your credit file or to get you a new credit file. Usually, these organizations are rip-offs and you should avoid them. A good rule to follow is “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Check with the State of Utah Department of Consumer Affairs or the Utah Better Business Bureau  to see if they have had any complaints registered against them.
Finally, you should realize that it will take a great deal of both discipline and money to pay off substantial credit card debt. For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt and you want to pay it off in two years, you will need to pay $520 per month; in three years, you will need $382 per month. If you wanted to pay off the $10,000 at $200 per month, it would take you over ten years. Credit card debt is especially stubborn to eliminate because of the high (19% to 29%) interest that keeps adding up. An experienced Utah consumer bankruptcy attorney can help you make the correct financial decision. Visit our website at .