If you find yourself in both financial distress and marital distress, you may be considering filing for both bankruptcy and divorce. While you can legally file for both at the same time, it can cause unnecessary complications and delays in both proceedings. Understanding how filing for either bankruptcy first, or divorce first can affect both cases can help you make a decision on which case to file first.
Does any form of bankruptcy help in divorce?
No form of bankruptcy serves as much of a weapon in divorce proceedings, because no obligation in a divorce decree is dischargeable. However, as to the division of property or non-support related payment obligations, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 may allow you to restructure the manner and timing of the payment of those obligations.
Filing for Bankruptcy First
If you make the decision to file for bankruptcy first, it is important that you understand that filing for bankruptcy is a personal and individual matter. Even if you are married, unless you file for joint bankruptcy, your bankruptcy will remain your own personal matter. Filing for bankruptcy will only affect your own credit history and will only dismiss your debts. Because of this, you will not need your spouse’s consent in any way to file for personal bankruptcy, but if your divorce results in your being responsible for marital debt, your personal bankruptcy will not absolve you of responsibility to handle these debts if they affect your ex-spouse.
Filing for Divorce First
Making the decision to file for a divorce before bankruptcy can prevent some serious legal issues and complications. It enables you to understand the financial obligations you will be left with and which of those a bankruptcy can rectify. Filing for divorce first also allows any child support decisions and alimony decisions to be finalized prior to bankruptcy.
Filing Bankruptcy In The Middle of a Divorce?
It is rarely logical to file a bankruptcy mid-divorce. The automatic stay does not stop divorce proceedings from continuing, except to the extent that there is a property that might be affected by the bankruptcy. Even then, the State Court may continue proceedings to deal with all other issues.
Child Support and Alimony
Whether a person decides to file for bankruptcy before or after the divorce, no legally mandated child support payments or alimony will be dischargeable. Under the Bankruptcy Code, these debts are unable to be dismissed and a person will always be responsible for both child support and alimony. However, if you file for bankruptcy first, you may have considerably less in total assets, which may affect the amount you will pay in either child support or alimony.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Bankruptcies and divorces are both complicated legal undertakings. Understanding how bankruptcy could affect your divorce case can help you make a determination regarding whether you can wait until after your divorce to file for bankruptcy, or can file as soon as possible. Contact the experienced Jupiter & Palm Beach Gardens bankruptcy attorneys at the office of Julianne Frank, Esq. to help you with your unique case, and help you understand your next steps. Contact our legal team at (561) 220-2528 for a free consultation today.