It is an unfortunate reality that bankruptcy and divorce are not always mutually exclusive. If you find yourself facing both a mountain of debt and a divorce in the near future, perhaps you’re wondering which legal procedure should happen first. There are pros and cons to either order of business, however, and the answer to the question depends a lot on your circumstances.
According to an article from Nolo, if you complete your divorce proceedings before you file for bankruptcy, your income as a single household may be lower, making Chapter 7 qualification a greater possibility. In addition, you may find yourself with fewer debts and less property due to the division of assets and liabilities in the divorce. As Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a repayment plan that could take a considerable length of time to satisfy, it may also be preferable to complete the divorce first and then the bankruptcy in this circumstance.
Completing the bankruptcy proceedings before the divorce may simplify the process of dividing marital assets and liabilities. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually discharged quickly — within a few months — and filing fees are the same for two individuals filing jointly as they are for a single filer.
Regardless of which proceeding you decide to undergo first, Springfield, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Chris Wesner cautions you to remember two things:
- Even if you’re divorced, debts have been divided, and your former spouse has filed for bankruptcy, you may still be liable for debts that the two of you incurred during marriage. And example, as described by Nolo, is a joint credit card that your spouse is ordered in the divorce decree to pay. Regardless of the divorce decree, if your former spouse files for bankruptcy, the credit company can seek payment from you.
- Alimony and child support debts cannot be eliminated by bankruptcy. Ever.
For more information about bankruptcy and your options for eliminating most debts, contact us.