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Bankruptcy and divorce -- which to do first?

If you are contemplating a divorce, you will have various challenging decisions to make. If you are facing financial problems at the same time, the process will likely be even more strenuous. Many people are uncertain about filing for bankruptcy jointly as a couple and which process to complete first - the divorce or the bankruptcy. Most may agree that remedies for marital and financial problems may be best accomplished with the support of legal counsel who can answer the many potential questions.

Here are a few matters concerning bankruptcy and family law with which an experienced Florida attorney can provide guidance:

Bankruptcy chapter 

  • Chapter 7: Qualification depends on income, and if the joint household income is low enough, you and your spouse can file jointly and get the bankruptcy done within months. After the discharge of your unsecured debts, you can proceed with the divorce, saving legal fees and more. However, if you are in a higher income group, your joint income may exceed the limit for a Chapter 7 filing, and it may be more appropriate to file separately after the divorce.
  • Chapter 13: This process takes between three and five years, making it impractical even to consider filing for joint bankruptcy before the divorce. If you file as a couple and then decide to divorce during that period, the court must close or separate the bankruptcy filing upon finalization of the divorce.

Property division

  • Learning about asset protection in bankruptcy and divorce
  • Learning what will happen to jointly owned property, like your house, a vehicle and more
  • Learning how exemption laws will affect you

Most Florida residents who consider divorce do so to move out of adverse circumstances into happy times and the same goes for bankruptcy. Decisions and choices made at this difficult period will undoubtedly affect your future - with relation to both personal happiness and financial stability. For this reason, many people avoid making these decisions until they are fully informed and have the support and guidance of a seasoned attorney who has experience in both fields of the law.

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