Which To File First – Bankruptcy or Divorce?
Oftentimes life challenges happen all at once. If you are facing financial issues, you may also be facing a possible divorce. In other cases, divorces are caused by marital strife resulting from financial struggles. If you are looking at facing a possible divorce and also have financial issues, you may also be considering bankruptcy. You may be curious to know which of these you should file for first, and what options are available to you as you go through this stressful time.
Filing for Bankruptcy or Divorce First
Should you file for divorce or bankruptcy first? Will one affect the other? Will it matter in the end? Will it affect alimony or child support? Many people facing both the possibility of divorce or bankruptcy feel overwhelmed and unsure which even to face first. Here is a summary of some important points regarding how bankruptcy and divorce affect each other.
- Bankruptcy is a personal matter unless you specifically file for joint bankruptcy. Therefore, even if you are married when you file for bankruptcy, only your finances, your debt, and your credit score will be affected. Your spouse’s credit score and debts will be unaffected. You do not need your spouse’s consent to file for personal bankruptcy.
- Divorce. You may choose to file for bankruptcy either before or after a divorce is finalized. However, if you choose to file for bankruptcy before a divorce, there may be more complicated and challenging legal issues. The court may issue an “automatic stay” regarding your finances so that a stable picture can be presented to the court for alimony or child support purposes.
While you are free to file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce, there are times where it may be more advantageous to file prior to or after the divorce is finalized. Contacting a divorce attorney can help you determine which time would be best for you to file for bankruptcy.
Paying Child Support or Alimony If a Bankruptcy is Filed
Never file for bankruptcy as a way to get out of paying child support or alimony. Any court-mandated child support or alimony payments will be considered non-dischargeable by a bankruptcy court, meaning you will never be able to dismiss those debts through bankruptcy. The courts have made child support mandatory as they believe that both parents should continue to provide for their children financially. Additionally, if a court orders alimony payments, they believe that one spouse has a financial obligation for a period of time to the other. Therefore both child support and alimony are priority financial obligations and under Section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code, non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you are considering bankruptcy, divorce, or both, you may feel overwhelmed. Contact the Las Vegas family attorneys at Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. We can answer your divorce, bankruptcy, alimony and child custody questions. Visit with one of our attorneys at 410-535-5500 today for your free consultation.