If you are divorcing your spouse and you also need to file for bankruptcy, the timing of filing the bankruptcy paperwork is important. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a restructuring of your debt, with a repayment plan that will occur over a number of years, while Chapter 7 wipes out unsecured debt. If divorce is imminent, choosing the right time to file for the right type of bankruptcy is critical.
Filing for Bankruptcy Before Filing for Divorce
Some couples choose to file for bankruptcy prior to filing for divorce to save on filing fees, and to make financial separation easier in the end. If you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this can be filed before you file for your divorce. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be discharged pretty quickly, and you will only have to pay one filing fee if you file your bankruptcy jointly. Once the debts have been discharged, you can proceed with filing for your divorce. If you need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will want to wait until your divorce is final.
Bankruptcy Proceedings During a Divorce
It is possible to file for bankruptcy in the middle of a divorce, but it can become complicated. In a divorce, the assets and debts of a marriage are divided up among the couple. You may decide that filing for bankruptcy is your best option as you take a hard look at your marriage assets and debts. While it is easier to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before your divorce proceedings begin, it is still possible to file both at the same time. Once a bankruptcy is filed, all assets and debts are locked and it is not possible for the courts to divide them up. This can stall your divorce and cause unnecessary complications.
Filing for Bankruptcy After a Divorce
Once you have filed for divorce, it is possible to divide up assets and debt, and then file for bankruptcy on your own once the divorce is over. In the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, waiting for the divorce to be over will cause you less stress. As you work to repay the debt assigned to you in the divorce, you don't have to worry about whether your ex spouse is being responsible with their debt. If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy before you divorced, you are each tied to each other until the debt is paid off.
If you are considering a divorce and you believe a bankruptcy will be necessary, consult with a qualified attorney to discuss all of your options.