Articles Tagged with divorce

Filing for divorce is a stressful process and it can often happen during a time of great financial strain both individuals. This financial strain may cause both individuals to consider filing for bankruptcy. The big question is should you file before or after a divorce?

The first thing to understand is how bankruptcy and divorce can affect each other. Since distributing assets and liabilities occurs based on each individual’s income, a divorce cannot be finalized until after a bankruptcy is complete. Also, keep in mind that bankruptcy courts handle your filing based on your marital status. If you are still married, separated, or already divorced, it will affect your bankruptcy filing.

Filing Bankruptcy Before a Divorce

By Alfred Villoch, III, with Savage, Combs & Villoch, PLLC

Divorce is often the catalyst for bankruptcy.  After divorce, finances are stretched. There are new budgetary constraints.  One partner might lose health insurance or the insurance might become more costly for the ex-spouse.  Alimony and child support become additional expenses to pay.  Some start having to pay new expenses such as child care, and others will find their expenses increased because no longer are they splitting bills and living expenses with their former partner.

A particular trigger for bankruptcy is the former marital home and the mortgage. When a married couple owns a house, typically one spouse keeps possession and the other spouse will agree to make or help out with the mortgage payments.  Unless the couple refinances the mortgage, both partners will remain legally responsible for the mortgage debt.  The problem arises when, for whatever reason, the mortgage goes unpaid and falls into default.  This drags the co-obligor – who doesn’t even live in the home – into a foreclosure lawsuit and starts to severely damage that person’s credit score.  One spouse can file for bankruptcy, leaving the other spouse adrift and fully responsible for the mortgage.

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