Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

Should I file for bankruptcy and divorce at the same time?

You’re not the first person to ask this question and you won’t be the last. Conflict over money is one of the leading contributors to divorce in the United States.

Here’s the options you can take when neither your marriage or your bank account seems fixable.

Separate filings

Typically, you won’t be able to file for a divorce and bankruptcy simultaneously since both matters deal with rearranging your finances. However, you may be able to put a divorce on hold to file for bankruptcy.

Which to file first

Filing for bankruptcy can be an extremely quick process that relives your debt almost immediately or a three-to-five-year trek. The difference is in which type of bankruptcy you file for: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

If your household income is too high to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll be better off dealing with your divorce first. However, even if you do qualify for Chapter 7, you may still choose the lengthier Chapter 13 option because of certain benefits it has.

However, filing for Chapter 7 jointly with your ex can absolve your marital debt prior to the divorce. This could save you time and money in court. Filing jointly also doubles the exemption amount to help you keep assets from being liquidated by creditors.

Debts that bankruptcy won’t absolve

If you choose to file for bankruptcy after divorce, you may be able to absolve some of the debt you have in court fees. However, you won’t be able to use any type of bankruptcy to absolve child support or alimony debts.

Your situation is unique

Because your finances and marriage aren’t quite the same as anyone else’s, it’s best to get advice from a professional based on your unique situation. By consulting an attorney who is familiar with family law and bankruptcy, you can get help devising a plan that absolves your marriage and your debt in the easiest, most effective way possible.

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