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Bankruptcy Before or After a Divorce

Bankruptcy; Before or After a Divorce?

When a marriage is dissolved, there are financial issues that must be dealt with. Sometimes the amount of debt is insurmountable and bankruptcy may be the only option for one or both partners. However, it may be unclear whether you should file for bankruptcy before your divorce or after. While there are benefits to each choice, filing bankruptcy and wiping out your debt before you divorce is often the best solution.

Advantages to Filing Before Divorce

When you file bankruptcy before the dissolution of your marriage, you wipe out all of your debts. Once the bankruptcy filing has been completed, you can begin your divorce with no lingering debts which will make the division of assets and debts easier. The divorce process becomes easier and much faster when there are no debts or financial obligations to bicker over. Another advantage is you may have an easier time qualifying for Chapter 7 due to your larger household size if you file while still married.

Challenges to Filing After Divorce

The divorce decree may set forth which spouse is responsible for a debt and/or that a certain debt is to be paid by the other spouse. These determinations are not necessarily aligned with who is actually responsible for the debt. These divorce order arrangements can blur the lines in bankruptcy and may not be dischargeable under the umbrella of bankruptcy.

In addition, most clients want to be divorced as quickly as possible and don't want to wait for a bankruptcy proceeding to file for divorce. A divorce with substantial debt division will take longer than one without and if either spouse files for bankruptcy during the divorce, the divorce process will come to a halt. Petitioners for bankruptcy are not in control of their debts or assets until the bankruptcy is finalized so the divorce court cannot move forward.

As you can see, there is no "right" answer for every situation. Each couple and each individual must do what is right for their particular needs. While the benefits of handling financial issues and filing for bankruptcy before divorce far outweigh those of waiting, it is always best to consult your attorney before taking the first step. A competent legal professional can analyze your situation and give you the best advice for you. They can also guide you through the process, no matter which option you choose.

About Author Stacy Rocheleau :

Stacy Rocheleau is a divorce attorney with Right Lawyers in Las Vegas, NV. She can be reached at (702) 767-7611 or on the website at

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Article Added on Sunday, May 5, 2013
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