Can one file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time? 24 Answers as of April 16, 2015

Should I file for bankruptcy at the same time as getting my divorce? Or is this going to cause problems?

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GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
The simple answer is "yes". But there are many pitfalls to avoid. Pay an experienced BK lawyer for one hour of their time to properly guide you. Making a mistake here could cost you thousands of dollars!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/16/2015
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
A person can initiate bankruptcy proceedings during or before they file an action seeking a divorce. However, it might have an impact on the division of marital property, since the person seeking bankruptcy protection is usually trying to shield themselves from creditors. If the creditors cannot pursue the bankrupt spouse they will try to collect any marital debt from the spouse who does not file for bankruptcy. This could complicate the equitable distribution part of the divorce action and , among other things, draw out the proceedings.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 4/14/2015
John W. Lee, P.C.
John W. Lee, P.C. | John W. Lee
Yes, a person may file a bankruptcy and a divorce at the same time. It may lead to an unmitigated disaster, but it can be done. The law surrounding the interplay between divorce and bankruptcy is complicated and one should not attempt to do both at one time unless he has an attorney that is experienced in both areas of law. You should speak to a lawyer that handles both areas of law before making any decisions regarding which to file first.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 4/14/2015
Provda Law Firm
Provda Law Firm | Bruce Provda
If you want to file a joint bankruptcy, then you need to still be married. This one is most beneficial as it will delete all unsecured debt from the marriage and then no one is left holding the bag. This does have to be started at least prior to divorce. If you are filing s sole bankruptcy after divorce make sure there is nothing in the agreement that messes up your filing. Speak with your bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/14/2015
Law Office of Barton R. Resnicoff | Barton R. Resnicoff
There is an automatic stay from the bankruptcy proceeding; however, depending upon the issues raised, there may or may not be a problem. You should consult with an attorney(at least a bankruptcy attorney; maybe both a bankruptcy attorney and one who is familiar with divorce issues)to be certain as to what you should do and when. You may get certain advantages, or lose certain rights, depending upon the timing.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/14/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    It's not usually not a good idea because the bankruptcy can complicate the divorce and the divorce can complicate the bankruptcy. Unless both cases are really simple, get the divorce done then the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 4/14/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    Ordinarily, it is better to file bankruptcy first then divorce. In theory, you could file divorce on day one and bankruptcy on day two but you want to still be married when you file bankruptcy in order to discharge any potential liability you may otherwise incur under the future divorce decree. This is a complex issue and I highly recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney to clarify the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/14/2015
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    Once bankruptcy is filed it will delay divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Marc S. Stern
    Marc S. Stern | Marc S. Stern
    That is a complex decision that requires analysis. What are the asset, liabilities, other problems? What is the income? When to file is as important a question as whether to file. In general, bankruptcy will complicate a divorce. A divorce will complicate a bankruptcy. This is just a fact of life.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Law Offices of Robert Burns
    Law Offices of Robert Burns | Robert Burns
    Your post is not thought out. You can file for both at the same time but there is no reason articulated for doing so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    You can do most of the bankruptcy and the divorce at the same time, but generally it is better to do one before the other. The only obstacle to doing both at the same time is that the bankruptcy will put a stay on the divorce, until you file a motion for relief from the stay in the bankruptcy court. If you are splitting substantial assets, it may be best to get that all worked out in your divorce decree before filing bankruptcy, so the bankruptcy trustee will be less inclined to interfere with the property division. Certainly if there are disagreements over assets or support, it would be best to resolve those issues before filing bankruptcy. Otherwise, they could make the bankruptcy more complicated. On the other hand, I have filed many joint bankruptcy cases for couples who have very little and they get their divorce after their debts are discharged in bankruptcy. If it is an amicable divorce, and if both parties plan to file bankruptcy anyway, then it is more economical to file a joint bankruptcy. You cannot have actual conflicts of interest between the partners, however, because then you cannot share a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Fran Brochstein
    Fran Brochstein | Fran Brochstein
    Technically cannot do both unless bankruptcy court signs document to allow you to do so. Talk to an attorney in your county for more details.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You can do that. A bankruptcy may make the divorce easier, no debt to fight over. You should do it together if you can. Look for a lawyer at NACBA.ORG. See the attachment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    When you file for bankruptcy you create a bankruptcy estate and when filing for divorce you create a marital estate. It certainly could be confusing and cause problems if both were attempted at the same time. It would be much better to file for a bankruptcy first and then a divorce or in alternative file for divorce and wait until that is final then file individual bankruptcies.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    My usual advice is that if you both need to file bankruptcy you should file before you start your divorce. It simplifies things and saves a filing fee and another lawyer's fee. There may be reasons to file for divorce first so you should consult a bankruptcy attorney about your particular situation, but in general it's better if you both file together.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    The devil is going to be in the details? Do you and your spouse have joint debt? Or is the debt all yours or all hers? Or is it a mixture of the two. What property do the two of you each own. Is all of this property protected by state exemption laws? Or should you be divorced in order to maximize the exemptions you use. Is your income approximately equal? By adding both of your incomes together, will you still pass the means test & the good faith test? Making this decision is not a hard and fast one size fits all call.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    It may cause problems because your property and debts are not yet separate, so you don't know what to file against. Best answer would be for you to consult with a Bankruptcy attorney for further input before moving forward with either.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Yes you can file for both at the same time..but yes there are issues when you do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    This is not always an easy question. However for many of my clients it is a distinct relief to start out a new financial life at the same time they end their marriage. So many people do both at around the same time. The difficulties that follow from doing so are not very big, so long as you have one or more skilled lawyers representing you. E.g. you will probably need relief from stay in the bankruptcy court in order to pursue the divorce. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    Much depends on what is going on in your situation. Sometimes it is best to file bankruptcy first, and others, it is better to get the divorce done first. If you do file for divorce first, the bankruptcy can stop the divorce proceedings. Best to meet with a divorce lawyer, and a bankruptcy lawyer, and they can work together with you to help make that decision.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You should speak to a local attorney as it may cause problems or none, depends on your circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk | Andrew Oostdyk
    You really should consult a Bankruptcy Attorney on this matter. There may be advantages to your filing BK before your divorce, and there may be advantages to completing your divorce prior to filing BK.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You can but it certainly complicates matters. It is quite possible that you could be discharged from the joint marital debt in bankruptcy but have to still pay all or a portion of it under the divorce decree. See an attorney before you hurt yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    No It is generally better to get the divorce first to see who is going to be responsible for which debts and what assets each party will receive. I strongly urge you to discuss your case with both a family law attorney and a bankruptcy attorney before taking any action. Also, be sure that any family law attorney you deal with is willing to work with any bankruptcy attorney you deal with. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
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