Studies show finances as a strong catalyst for divorce in today's society. For those in severe financial strains, bankruptcy may be a beneficial consideration.
However, both divorce and bankruptcy have specific protocols that can affect each other. It is important to understand the implications of bankruptcy during divorce.
Filing type matters
Whether filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filing as a couple or as a single party is an important consideration. A joint filing is usually beneficial for those who share a large number of assets or have certain high-value assets. On the other hand, if a couple shares minimal or smaller assets, an individual filing may be sufficient. However, both parties must understand what the bankruptcy filing means for them. In certain cases, if one party files for bankruptcy as an individual, the filing may alleviate that party's responsibility for a debt, but it does not eliminate the debt completely. Therefore, the other party may still have to pay the debt.
The time at which the bankruptcy and divorce coincide play a strong party on either process; in fact, it can determine if either process is feasible. For example, if a couple is in the middle of a divorce, a bankruptcy must approve a request for bankruptcy. Should the party receive an approval, the divorce process must cease until the completion of the bankruptcy. In cases where a divorce decree is already in place, the bankruptcy process may require a modification to that decision, considering that the bankruptcy will alter the recipient's income.
While these aspects play a major part in deciding if a bankruptcy during divorce is proper or feasible, they are not the only things to think about. Before embarking upon a bankruptcy, it is important to fully understand how it affects you and possibly those connected to you.