Common Questions Asked In Bankruptcy and Divorce Cases

Will Filing for A Bankruptcy Ever Stall A Divorce Proceeding?

Usually not.

If Your Spouse Files For Bankruptcy, Can You Still Go Ahead And Enforce The Divorce Judgment?

Yes, the obligations under the divorce are not dischargeable. It is best to always consult with an attorney first because in certain cases you may be required to obtain relief from the Automatic Stay in the bankruptcy court.

If A Couple Is Going To End Up Filing For Bankruptcy Separately Before Or After They Divorce, Can The Same Attorney Represent Both Spouses In The Bankruptcy Proceedings?

The bankruptcy attorney usually would have nothing to do with the divorce. Each case is different. There will be a conflict of interest. If the couple is doing a Chapter 13 and one of the spouses is trying to collect alimony or child support and want something, they have to deal with how that is going to be paid. If it is paid as part of a bankruptcy plan, than it is probably not the best thing to do. It is probably best for them to have separate attorneys. Theoretically, it could be done but you have to be very careful that there is not a conflict. Typically, it is advised to have separate attorneys.

I f You Are Filing for Divorce Separately, Will That Affect Your Ex-spouse's Credit Report At All?

It should not. Credit reporting agencies operate under different rules, so if you file for bankruptcy on just your debts, there should not be any consequences to the other person's credit unless you shared in some of those debts. However, if it was totally separate, it should not be.

In Case Of A Couple Headed For Divorce, Is There Anything You Can Do To Protect Yourself If Your Spouse Decides To File Bankruptcy And You Don't Agree With It?

If your spouse files bankruptcy, you cannot prevent yourself from filing bankruptcy. They can only file on the debt that they are responsible for, but there are still going to be remaining debts, which are either in your name individually or joint names that you are responsible to the debtor. Those are still considered marital debts. It does not really affect you because they still would have to share in whatever the remaining debts were. You are not just stuck paying all the rest of the debts just because your spouse has filed on his. All of those are marital debts and that all needs to be sorted out in the divorce.

What Are Some Of The Different Debts That Can Arise Out Of A Divorce? Can Those Ever Be Dischargeable?

A debt can be anything from a credit card to a medical bill, a mortgage or car loan. It can be anything. When you file a bankruptcy, you just charge your obligation to a bank or some other third party. You never discharge your obligation to your spouse in the bankruptcy. So, it is not really any factor.

What Are Some Key Things That Someone Should Consider If There Is A Divorce and a Bankruptcy Both On The Horizon, In Order To Best Protect Yourself Or Both?

First of all, you have got to look at figuring out what your actual debts are and your assets. If you know you are going to have to file, it is not recommended to pay off any debts before consulting with an attorney. That is because one problem you can have is if you pay any one creditor $600 during that time, during ninety days before you file, that can give problems, so it is recommended not paying off anything. A lot of times, people are trying to save themselves from having to file bankruptcy, they will liquidate exempt assets to get money to pay debts. For example, a 401(k) or IRA is an exempt asset. You could have $100,000 sitting in your 401(k) and if you file for bankruptcy, they cannot touch the 401(k). Some people will try to not have to file and they will take that exempt asset out of their 401(k) and use it to pay off credit cards. The problem is sometimes they cannot pay them all off or they build them back up again for whatever reason. Then they end up having to file anyway but they have just given away half of their 401(k) and they still have to file. Therefore, it is recommended to never pay off an unsecured debt with an exempt asset.

Another thing that people do is they will take out loans against their house in order to pay off credit cards. That is another issue because a house in an exempt asset in the State of Florida, so you are taking money out of an exempt asset and using it to pay unsecured debt. Financially, that does not make sense. However, there are a lot of people that do a lot of things which they probably should not have done to try to prevent from having to file. Therefore, it is advised to honestly assess your situation and determine whether you are going to actually have to file or not.

It is best to try to meet with an attorney and go over the finances and look at what is coming in. The main issue in bankruptcy is you going to be able to pay your debts, as they occur, from your ordinary income? If you are not going to be able to do that, then in effect, what you are doing by liquidating things is you are just buying yourself time. In that case, it is better to just go ahead and plan and set everything up and go ahead and do your bankruptcy.

If you Need Answers to Common Questions Asked in Bankruptcy and Divorce Cases, call the law offices of Michael E. Golub for a FREE Initial Consultation at 352-508-6632 and get the information and legal answers you're seeking.