Divorce in itself is a complicated process, so when divorce and bankruptcy overlap, it becomes even more confusing. While many couples choose to file jointly for bankruptcy, there are times when one spouse is not as eager to file, whether because they do not feel responsible for the majority of the debt, or they are just not ready to declare.
When this happens, a spouse may choose to declare bankruptcy individually to finally relieve themselves of their financial hardships. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to give you specific guidance on your case, but in the meantime, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions regarding filing bankruptcy during divorce.
Which case takes precedence — the divorce or the bankruptcy?
When a spouse declares bankruptcy while they are in the middle of a divorce, it stops the division of property proceedings until permission of the bankruptcy court is granted. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can take a few months to finalize, while Chapter 13 can take a few years. This delay in the divorce case is an important factor to take into consideration if you or your spouse are deciding to file for bankruptcy during divorce.
What happens to joint debt during a divorce?
The spouse who did not file for bankruptcy will remain responsible for their portion of any joint debts. However, just as creditors will not be able to harass the spouse who declared bankruptcy, they also will not be able to contact the other spouse for any joint debts, until relief from stay is granted by the bankruptcy court or after it is finalized. Once the bankruptcy is finalized, the spouse who did not declare will remain responsible for their portion of the debt, even if the other spouse had their debts completely wiped out.
How does filing bankruptcy affect child support or custody proceedings?
Filing for bankruptcy during a divorce does not affect child support or custody proceedings. Typically, declaring regular bankruptcy does not discharge an individual from child support debt, but you should contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area to give you the best advice regarding the details of your individual situation.
Contact Barbara B. Braziel For Help
While filing for bankruptcy during a divorce can complicate things, it does not mean that it is not possible, and it may still be your best option for your financial situation. If you are in the Savannah area including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Tybee Island, Midway, and surrounding areas, Braziel Law is here for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation to discuss filing for individual bankruptcy during a divorce.