Choosing bankruptcy and divorce timing

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

People in New Jersey who are experiencing serious financial hardship often also experience marital or other relationship troubles at the same time. This is actually quite logical given the stress that can accompany being under a mound of debt. Couples who are considering getting divorced but who may also be thinking about bankruptcy will need to decide which one of these life events they tackle first.

When it comes to thinking about filing for bankruptcy before filing for divorce, The Balance indicates there are some situations in which this may be beneficial for both spouses. People who file a joint bankruptcy will enjoy greater levels of exemptions than people who file single bankruptcies. This may allow them to keep some of their assets that may otherwise be lost in a traditional Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before a divorce will also reduce the amount of joint debt a couple holds. This may streamline their divorce settlement process and allow them to make a cleaner break, knowing they are not tied to each other through debts.

On the other side of the equation, people who may be looking at filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be better served by completing their divorce first. My Horizon Today explains that a Chapter 13 plan lasts for multiple years so a couple would either have to put off their divorce or make amendments to their bankruptcy partway through if they divorced when the case was still active. Remaining linked to a person financially for three to five years can be very difficult once the decision to divorce has been made.




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