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Bankruptcy before or after a divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2020 | Bankruptcy

Many people experience serious financial struggles. For some married couples, these struggles contribute to problems in their relationship and may even lead to the irrevocable breakdown of their marriage.

When a divorcing couple needs to address significant joint debt, they may consider filing for bankruptcy before they get divorced. They may also choose to wait and let each spouse address their own post-divorce debt issues separately.

Bankruptcy timing relative to a divorce

As explained by Experian, the decision to file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce may be made in part based on what type of bankruptcy plan a couple selects. A Chapter 13 plan lasts for a minimum of three years and for as long as five years. This lengthy time may prevent a couple from choosing to pursue this route before getting divorced as it keeps them financially tied during that time.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may take just a few months to complete, making it possible for some couples to pursue prior to filing for divorce. However, spouses must be able to work together and communicate effectively when filing for a joint bankruptcy. When this cannot happen, it may not be possible or wise to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy prior to getting divorced.

Post-divorce debt and account names

According to Bankrate, when a divorce decree outlines responsibility to one spouse for a debt, a creditor may not always follow that direction. If the responsible party via a divorce decree fails to repay a debt and the account reflects both spouses’ names, the creditor may pursue repayment or collection from the other party.

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