One of the most difficult times in life can be facing the possibility of divorce. Getting divorced usually has a huge impact on the family both emotionally, and financially. Married couples often fail to realize is that following a divorce or separation, (one of the spouses moves out) simply paying the family bills and necessities such as utilities and a mortgage can be overwhelming, and even impossible. Even when one spouse had been making all of the living expenses with his/her income alone, when the other spouse moves out, another set of living expenses (rent, utilities, food) is created. The family “breadwinner” is often forced to pay child support and spousal support (alimony), making it too difficult to keep up with his/her own budget such as a mortgage, car payments, and utilities.
Going from one family budget to two often leads to increased debt, such as mounting credit card balances and medical bills. Foreclosure is also very common following a divorce or separation. The influx of debt after separating can be avoided by consulting with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer prior to the finalization of divorce. A bankruptcy attorney can guide the couple on how to take care of the debt properly, in order to avoid financial disaster following the couple’s breakup. If a divorce has been filed but not finalized, the bankruptcy attorney can work directly with the divorce attorneys to ensure that the parties do not end up being forced to pay debt they cannot handle following the divorce.
Often times, a bankruptcy is not needed for a divorcing couple, but consulting with a bankruptcy attorney can prevent an impending bankruptcy down the road. When a spouse has marital assets such as equity in a home or car, or retirement, a bankruptcy attorney can assist the divorce attorneys on how those assets can be protected, even if a bankruptcy is filed. Using the knowledge of an experienced bankruptcy attorney is like having a long term financial planner for someone considering separation or divorce.
Divorcees who do not consult with a bankruptcy attorney prior to the divorce are often in much worse financial condition, as they may end up being ordered by the Divorce Court to pay back more debt than they can handle, and sometimes cannot discharge the debt in a bankruptcy once the divorce is final. Post- divorce debt can crush a divorcee’s ability to “move on” with his/her life and buy another car or home in the future, as the debt to income ratio will be way too high to obtain future credit. By filing bankruptcy prior to the divorce, the spouse can rebuild his/her credit quickly and purchase another vehicle or mortgage in the future.
If you are considering divorce, or even just separating from your spouse, a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can significantly help your financial future, even if bankruptcy is not needed. DIVORCE AND BANKRUPTCY