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Bankruptcy and Divorce

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Although couples decide to get divorced for many reasons, disagreements over money and finances are one of the main reasons that people file for divorce in New Jersey, if the issue is the mismanagement of money, filing for bankruptcy and divorce simultaneously can be a dangerous combination if the individuals involved are not well informed. A couples’ marriage and their finances go hand in hand. Most married couples share a residence, hold joint bank accounts, share jointly owned vehicles, share credit cards, and incur shared expenses. Therefore, in the event that a couple is contemplating a divorce and a bankruptcy at the same time, the process can become very complex. Filing for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or getting a divorce are each stressful and arduous processes by themselves, but combining both may seem unimaginable to some. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals who find themselves in this situation make sure that they are well informed about both divorce, bankruptcy, and the affect that one has on the other – before engaging the processes. First, the couple will need to decide whether they wish to file for bankruptcy prior to the divorce proceedings or following them. If the spouses file for bankruptcy before their divorce, they will have the option to file either jointly or singly. By doing this, the couple will be compelled to present the court and the bankruptcy trustee with all of their financial information – such as assets and other property. In the vast majority of cases, most of the couples’ assets will be exempt, but non-exempt assets will become part of the bankruptcy estate and the uncertainty of their discharge may make divorce property settlement negotiations more difficult. Alternatively, filing for bankruptcy may settle many debt or property issues between the couple before divorce negotiations even begin, thereby easing the process. If a couple can anticipate an amicable divorce it may be within their best interest to file for bankruptcy before filing for divorce for this aforementioned reason, as issues regarding ownership and title of property will be settled during the bankruptcy. If the couple realize early in the process that their divorce will be contested by either or both spouses, they may want to distribute the marital assets first, through negotiation and agreement, and then deal with each of their respective debts later. If you have any questions regarding how filing for bankruptcy and divorce will affect each respective process, it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist you with your finacial issues and to advise you properly in regard to bankruptcy. For more information regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, foreclosure or any other consumer debt issues visit TheNJBankruptcyAttorney.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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