On December 16, 2010, Judge Linda Riegle in the case of Ana J. Fox (10-19096) held that a married debtor may utilize the non-filing spouse's exemption claim. It is my understanding that another Judge in our district holds a contrary view.
Of course, what would occur if one spouse chose not to claim the exemption and the non filing spouse wanted to claim the exemption? This exact issue did arise in one of my cases (prior to this decision). Spouse A did not want to claim a homestead exemption and the non filing Spouse (who was getting a divorce from Spouse A) wanted to assert the claim. Although it appeared that the exemption claim was not valid, a settlement was reached which resulted in some funds going to the non filing spouse and the remainder to the bankruptcy estate.