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Which Should Come First, Bankruptcy or Divorce?
Both divorce and bankruptcy simultaneously represent the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. The decision to file either is usually preceded by months or years of financial and emotional stress. Quite often, these two life-changing decisions occur at or around the same time. In fact, financial problems may have played a significant role in the breakdown of the marriage. Underlying feelings of guilt, resentment, and grief may add to the challenge of determining how to move forward in the best way possible. The question of which should come first – divorce or bankruptcy – has a very real impact on the cost and overall ease of both processes. The information below provides some answers to this question, and explains why your decision may significantly affect the outcome.
How to Save Money
The short answer: file bankruptcy first. The most logical way to move forward with an impending divorce and bankruptcy is to start with the bankruptcy. If you file while still married, you pay one filing fee and one legal fee. Additionally, this allows you to remove the heavy burden of debt and financial insecurity prior to the divorce process. As divorce proceedings are typically more emotionally-charged, it helps to have a clean slate before you begin. Without the looming threat of financial disaster, the divorce process will likely be much smoother, more amicable, and will involve less time and expense. Filing for bankruptcy first also eliminates the need to sort through and divide debt.
Although reconciliation isn’t a given, filing for bankruptcy sometimes creates a positive shift in the marriage. Financial problems can destroy an otherwise healthy marriage. When those problems become less overwhelming, some couples decide to give their marriage another try.
Bankruptcy and Support Payments
It is true that bankruptcy forgives most debts, but it is also true that domestic support obligations such as child support and alimony are not considered forgivable debts. The common misconception that bankruptcy will reduce or eliminate these debts misleads many into filing divorce first. These obligations will exist as long as the court deems necessary. Furthermore, support payments may be much easier to manage after the bankruptcy has eliminated hefty debt payments.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps – Orlando Family Law Attorneys
Divorce and bankruptcy are both highly personal matters, and every client’s situation is unique. Therefore, McMichen, Cinami & Demps provides personalized attention and service for every client. We understand the emotional and financial challenges that surround divorce. This may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make. Our dedicated, compassionate legal team keeps this in mind as we help you navigate the divorce process with ease and clarity. At McMichen, Cinami & Demps, we have over 50 years of combined experience protecting the rights of individuals and families throughout Florida. We tailor our approach to each client’s situation, employing one of three methods – negotiation, collaborative law, or mediation. Contact us today.