Two of the most mentally and emotionally taxing processes that anyone can endure are divorce and bankruptcy. While both of these events can have significant impacts on every aspect of your life, going through both of them at the same time is even more difficult. Since divorce is directly linked to finances in many cases, divorcees should educate themselves on which life-altering event should come first if they need to file bankruptcy.
Can you file for both at the same time?
Many couples who are also enduring financial hardship while separating assume that the two processes will take place at the same time. It’s important to realize that even if you file the paperwork on the same day, the odds of your bankruptcy and divorce happening at the same time are minimal. In most courts, one of these legal motions will take precedence over the other.
Should you file for divorce before you file for bankruptcy?
There is no truly uniform answer to this question since the benefits of filing for divorce before you file for bankruptcy largely depend on the type of bankruptcy protection you file for. Chapter 13 bankruptcy cancels certain types of debts while mandating a negotiation with other creditors while Chapter 7 bankruptcy cancels eligible debts altogether. Your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on the total income of your home, so filing for a divorce before filing for bankruptcy can help both parties meet the income requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Should you file for bankruptcy before you file for divorce?
Filing for bankruptcy before filing for divorce does open up the door for potentially cancelling any marital debts. However, jointly filing for bankruptcy does require that both spouses be willing to cooperate with each other during the process. That can become difficult if the divorce is a contentious one.
The order that you file for both divorce and bankruptcy is largely contingent upon the circumstances surrounding the dissolution of your marriage. There are pros and cons to each option, and you should consider all of them carefully. Also, be sure to lean on the family law attorney you choose to represent you when making these difficult decisions. He or she may review the details of your case to help ensure that you make the right decision.