Which should I File First: Bankruptcy or Divorce?
Divorce can be extremely emotionally traumatic and can bring significant changes in almost every aspect of your life. As if divorce were not stressful enough, it often also causes substantial financial problems for one or both spouses. All of your hard-earned marital assets and property will be equitably divided, so you will lose approximately half of what you have worked for. In addition to dividing your property, you will also have to divide your debts. This means you may be responsible for significant debts even though your household income and assets may be dramatically decreased. For this reason, divorce often leaves one or both spouses close to financial ruin, and many divorcing parties end up filing for bankruptcy.
In what order should I file?
Whether you should file bankruptcy before divorce or vice versa depends on the specifics of your situation. In many situations, if you are your spouse can work together, it is generally better to file bankruptcy prior to a divorce. This can allow you to discharge all of your joint and individual debts, so there is no need to fight over debt division. In addition, you can make use of additional exemptions, so you can keep more property than if you had filed on your own.
On the other hand, some couples are better off waiting until their divorce is over to file bankruptcy. If you and your spouse have a high combined income, it may disqualify you from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you wait until after your divorce, you may qualify based on your separate income alone. No matter what your situation may be, an experienced attorney can advise you on the best course of action.
Contact an Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer for a free consultation
At the Ellett Law Offices, our attorneys understand that when you are going through an emotionally traumatic divorce, that last thing you need is additional financial stress or court proceedings. We will help you make the best decision regarding bankruptcy and will work to make sure the process is as stress-free as possible. We aim to make your life easier—not harder—in this stressful time for your family, so contact us today at (602) 235-9510 for a free consultation.