When should I file for bankruptcy if I am getting divorced? 20 Answers as of April 23, 2015

Can I file for bankruptcy at the same time as getting a divorce? Or should I file before or after starting the divorce process.

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Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
I strongly recommend that clients get through the divorce first and then do the bankruptcy. But, be sure to disclose to the other side your intent to file for bankruptcy. An alternative is to file a joint bankruptcy petition with your spouse and then the two of you can get a divorce with significant debts eliminated.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/23/2015
Eranthe Law Firm
Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
You should discuss this with a knowledgeable local bankruptcy lawyer and also with your family law attorney. It depends on too many factors to evaluate here. Sometimes it's good to get rid of the debt before divorce because you won't need to divide it. Other times the parties don't get along well enough to do that or there are other reasons that there is a conflict of interest and a joint case shouldn't be filed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/22/2015
John W. Lee, P.C.
John W. Lee, P.C. | John W. Lee
Every situation is different. I have advised many people to file bankruptcy before divorce, and I have advised many people to file bankruptcy after divorce. It depends on the goals of my client, whether there is joint debt, whether the divorcing parties are getting along, the income levels of the parties, the asset levels of the parties and whether the asset are jointly owned by the parties. You should hire an experienced local attorney that handles both bankruptcy and divorce to review your situation.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 4/22/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Each person's situation is different but commonly it's better to complete the divorce then file the bankruptcy
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/22/2015
Law Office of Barton R. Resnicoff | Barton R. Resnicoff
The only effect the bankruptcy may have will may be to stay the divorce proceeding. How to work the timing properly would have you consult with a matrimonial attorney and a bankruptcy attorney who can work together. Based upon that you should be able to get both done with the best result for you.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/22/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    If you do the bankruptcy before the divorce you can do it with your soon to ex. This will save the cost of two separate bankruptcies and will make the divorce easier.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Law Offices of Robert Burns
    Law Offices of Robert Burns | Robert Burns
    I believe that I answered this yesterday.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    The answer to your question depends on a lot of factors. Your best strategy may be to talk to a lawyer who does family law as well as bankruptcy, so you can consider all the relevant factors.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
    I would suggest filing after your divorce. Talk to a lawyer face to face about the pros and cons. Any lawyer worth his or her weight in salt will charge you for the consultation. But you want answers sooner rather then later.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    Many facts come to play in answering this question. Visit with an attorney in your state. In Idaho there are quite a few factors that can come into play and I expect it is similar in most other states.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    There is no one size fits all rule. The decision is usually influenced by whether the joint income puts you over the median income level, how much debt each of you might have together, and whether you are still civilized in each others company.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    John Russo | John Russo
    Have you discussed this with your bankruptcy attorney? You are asking three questions in one, before, during or after. If you filed first you would have to wait for final discharge from the bankruptcy, because if you did not you would face the same problem as if you filed during the divorce, i.e. The divorce court would be under the automatic stay provisions of the federal bankruptcy court and limited to only issues of support, child, and spousal, until final discharge of the bankruptcy. If you do it after that it could also be problematic since you cannot discharge your former spouse, what that means is that if you had a joint credit card and the bankruptcy court discharged you, that's great, but then who is the credit card company going after? Your now ex -spouse, and for all of it, not his/her half, why? No Privity, and even if the divorce court had stated you were each responsible for half, means nothing to the bank. Then comes the good part your ex drags you back to family court for you to pay what you thought you were free and clear of. Maybe instead of trying to act like a good lawyer, you should seriously consider retaining both a good bankruptcy attorney, as well as a good divorce attorney. Also, even if you filled before the divorce and were discharged first, and then filed, the family court could look at as you filed bankruptcy in contemplation of the divorce action and could still make you liable to your spouse for your share of marital debt. This can be done, but not by you, we are not fixing a drip in the sink here.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
    When to file for bankruptcy depends on the nature of the debts and whether or not both parties are willing to file together. If there are children involved in the divorce or a house, it may be useful to file for a divorce, get temporary orders re who gets to live in the house, a parenting plan and child support order and then file for bankruptcy which will stay the divorce proceedings.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Ask your attorney, or get one. There are goods and bads either way.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    My suggestion is that you have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. I don't think someone practicing Family Law can give you all you need to know about it. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    The decision is fact-driven. Your best bet is to consult a skilled lawyer who is acquainted with both areas of law. In my experience, it is generally best to start the bankruptcy first, but then file the divorce very soon thereafter. If you can get your spouse to join in the bankruptcy case, your joint filing will make the divorce much simpler, and the costs will likely be less. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    There is no hard and fast rule, but generally I advise my clients to file after the divorce is done, unless a joint petition is needed.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC
    Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC | Sarina Gianna
    Whether you should file for divorce or Bankruptcy relief first ultimately depends on the specifics of your case, the nature of the debt being discharged, the assets accumulated during the marriage, etc... For that reason, it is near impossible for me to recommend either one without knowing all the facts; however, I can say that a family law court will not entertain settlement discussions in a divorce case if one or both parties have a pending Bankruptcy Petition. The family matter is typically "stayed" until the Bankruptcy discharge because Federal Bankruptcy Court takes precedence over State Superior Court. For that reason, I typically recommend that the Bankruptcy take place first so it doesn't get in the way of the divorce matter proceeding as scheduled and it also discharges debt that would otherwise have to be negotiated in the divorce matter. Regardless of whether you file Bankruptcy first or Divorce first, you are not supposed to do both at the same time. Hope that helps.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    There are a lot of potential issues with divorce so I would suggest talking to a local bankruptcy attorney so he can assess your specific case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/21/2015
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    You can file at the same time.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/21/2015
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