Are you considering divorce and bankruptcy at the same time? Like it or not, these things tend to happen at once -- financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce. Unfortunately, a divorce can complicate a bankruptcy, and the opposite is also true.
Put Your Bankruptcy Either First or On Hold
You have two options. You can either declare bankruptcy first and then complete your divorce or you can put a hold on your bankruptcy to complete your divorce at a later date. Which option is best for you really depends on your financial status and your spouse's financial status, but either way you usually won't be able to run through both processes at the same time because they conflict with each other. Declaring bankruptcy first is often the simplest route because there will be fewer material assets to divide in the divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes a divorce cannot be delayed.
Continue Making Payments through the Process of Divorce
When you begin a declaration of bankruptcy you are usually able to stop all your payments. This is because further debt collection acts, such as foreclosure, cannot occur while you're in the process of bankruptcy. When the bankruptcy is stalled, however, all bets are off; you will need to continue making your payments until you can begin the process of bankruptcy again.
Modifying a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you were in the middle of creating a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan -- or already on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan -- you are going to need to meet with a bankruptcy attorney. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a scheduled repayment plan which is usually calculated based both on your debt and your income. After a divorce, this repayment plan is going to need to change to account for you and your spouse's separation. You can either file to change your payments (and split them between yourself and your spouse) or you can attempt to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will dissolve your debt but may sacrifice some of your assets, too.
If you're thinking about Chapter 13 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy and also considering divorce, you should contact a divorce attorney as soon as possible. A divorce attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Either way it's usually best to do one after the other rather than attempt them both at the same time. If you're already on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, you should know that getting a divorce may complicate your repayment.