Divorce is a stressful process, and it can be even more difficult if it comes with financial problems. Divorce is one of the biggest causes of financial struggle, and many consider bankruptcy as an option. Here, we will examine some factors to consider when you're deciding whether to file for bankruptcy before or after divorce.
Type of Bankruptcy
When deciding whether to file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce, consider the type of bankruptcy you wish to file. If you're filing Chapter 7, it may be better to file before the divorce is finalized. Because Chapter 7 is simplified and it can be completed in several months, you and your spouse can file jointly, discharge debt and get a divorce later.
However, if you choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might want to wait until after the divorce to file. Chapter 13 cases can last up to five years, and if you divorce during that time, you'll need to have the bankruptcy case closed or separated once the marriage is officially over.
Your total household income is something else to consider when you're deciding whether to file for bankruptcy during or after a divorce. If you file jointly, you'll save money on filing and attorney's fees, but both spouses' incomes, assets and debts will be considered when determining eligibility for Chapter 7. In these cases, filing after the divorce may be the appropriate choice.
When deciding whether to wait to file for bankruptcy, you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to determine how assets will be protected if you file jointly. If you own joint property such as vehicles and homes, asset protection is very important. Depending on your location, filing for joint bankruptcy can give you double exemptions. For instance, if your home's value is protected up to $100,000 for a single filer, a joint filing can give you up to $200,000 in protection.
If you and your spouse are on good terms, filing before divorce can be a good option. However, in contentious divorces, filing early can do serious harm. You'll need to rely on your spouse to show up for all court proceedings and you'll need them to hand over all relevant financial documents. When considering whether to file for bankruptcy before or after your divorce, your relationship status with your spouse should not be overlooked. To discuss the best time to file for bankruptcy, call an attorney, like Wiesner & Frackowiak, LC.