A court-approved mechanism under which two or more cases can be administered together. (Assuming no conflicts of interest, these separate firms or individuals can pool their resources, hire the same professionals, etc.) This is typical of spouses who file together. They file a “joint” case but actually there are two separate bankruptcy estates, but they are administered as one. Practically speaking this seldom makes a difference, but in some limited instances, for example, when one spouse transfers property, like a car, to the other spouse, this can be an important issue.