For nearly half of all marriages, divorce is an inevitable fate. Many of those divorces are the result of years spent arguing over finances. In fact, an estimated 22 percent of all divorces are caused by financial frustrations between spouses. While many couples may think a divorce will end their financial struggles, it may come as a surprise to know a large number of spouses still end up filing bankruptcy shortly after divorce. For these spouses, it may be beneficial to find out if it is in their best interest to file bankruptcy before or after their divorce.
Not all marriages end badly, and even if money played a significant role in your marriage’s demise spouses may wish to file bankruptcy before actually petitioning for divorce. Opting to settle financial issues before departing from your marriage may save quite a bit of money in the long run.
Filing a joint bankruptcy costs the same as filing individually. If you and your spouse are already struggling financially, sharing this cost may be the better way to go. Likewise, filing jointly also means hiring one attorney instead of two, which may also be more financially feasible. Filing jointly may also allow you to double up on your exemptions. Doing so, they allow you to exempt more of your assets then you would be allowed if filing bankruptcy individually.
Filing bankruptcy before filing divorce may save you money, but depending on your situation it may not always be in your best interest. If you and your spouse are considered a high-income couple, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy like you would if filing individually. If you and your soon-to- be ex are at each other’s throats, it may also difficult for you to wait for the 3 to 6 month period that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires for a discharge.
Financial issues play a huge part in marriages ending in divorce. For many, bankruptcy is also an inevitable outcome of this struggle. If you are considering bankruptcy and divorce, speaking to an attorney may help you identify your options and make the best decision for your situation.