Is there a trouble in paradise due to incessant money problems? Are you guys too irritated with each other? Are you planning to file a divorce or bankruptcy but don’t know which option would be the best? Well, can’t blame you for your confusion since divorce and bankruptcy are not a child’s play game. They lead to serious consequences.
In divorce, your relation and financial matters are at stake. In bankruptcy, both of your financial affairs are taken care of. But if you and your spouse can’t live with each other anymore, then divorce is the only solution to the problem. Now the catch is, should you file for divorce before bankruptcy or after bankruptcy? Or, should you file divorce and skip bankruptcy since the former leads to separation of assets?
I understand your dilemma. Have a look at the below-given sections to clear your confusion.
Bankruptcy offers lots of financial benefits.
For instance, you can save on the filing fees. The fee for filing joint bankruptcy and individual bankruptcy is the same. If both of you would file bankruptcy in the future, then it’s better to file it now. You and your spouse can save a lot on the bankruptcy filing fees.
The same goes for the attorney fees as well. Just think, if you file individual bankruptcy after divorce, you’ve to pay the attorney fee yourself. Likewise, your spouse has to pay the attorney fee from his or her pocket if he or she files bankruptcy after the divorce. But, if both of you file joint bankruptcy before the divorce, then it’ll be cheaper to get rid of debts. You have to handle only one attorney. Both of you can share the consultation fee amongst yourselves.
Do you know that the bankruptcy courts in some states permit couples to double their exemptions? Yes, there is no problem with your eyesight. You have read it correctly. Some states offer double exemptions to couples when they file bankruptcy jointly. This means they have a greater scope to protect properties.
It is best to file divorce first when both of you have a high income.
You can qualify for straight bankruptcy only when your income is below a certain amount. The court will check your joint income to decide if you would qualify for straight bankruptcy. If the court feels that your joint income is too high for straight bankruptcy, then you might qualify for it on the basis of your individual income. In this scenario, you should file divorce first and then go for bankruptcy.
Technically, you can’t. If you file bankruptcy and divorce at the same time, then the former would take precedence over the latter. The distribution of assets and liabilities won’t be finalized until the bankruptcy is completed. Do you realize what that means? You would be legally stuck with your wife for a long time.
There is yet another factor you need to keep in mind. Bankruptcy deals with debts tied to an individual’s name and social security number. Do you realize its implication? Bankruptcy would affect how your debts are treated in divorce. It’ll also look at your income from a different eye on the basis of your status - married, separated, or divorced.
Ultimately, it’s best to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney, and family law attorney to reach a decision. The bankruptcy attorney can tell what both of you can lose or gain through Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. Likewise, a family law attorney can tell you about the pros and cons of filing divorce. After getting their opinion, both of you can perhaps make the best decision.