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Bankruptcy Filings Are A Recipe For A Messy Divorce


One of the worst things about divorce is the feeling of uncertainty about your future that it causes.  Will you ever find another partner, and if you don’t, will you be lonely?  How will the divorce affect your relationship with your children?  How much will you have to downgrade your lifestyle?  To what extent will your ex be able to sabotage your plans after your divorce like they did during your marriage?  “Bankruptcy” is a scary word even for people who have never been married, but it has even more emotional impact for couples in the process of divorce, because it can affect the finances of the non-filing spouse in addition to the finances of the filing spouse.  If you are the one filing for bankruptcy, it can be a relief, the first step to moving on and rebuilding your finances.  If, however, your spouse first tells you they are divorcing you, and several months later announcing that they are filing for bankruptcy, it can seem like they are just trying to torpedo any sense of stability you might achieve.  To find out more about bankruptcy and divorce, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Your Estranged Spouse Cannot Stop You From Filing For Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy protection is a legal right, so even if your spouse is upset about your plans to file for bankruptcy, they cannot stop you from doing it, nor can the court order you to postpone your bankruptcy filing.  Bankruptcy filings make divorce cases more complicated, though. When you file for bankruptcy, your property becomes the property of the bankruptcy estate, and the family court cannot divide the property between you and your spouse until after your bankruptcy case is finished.  Therefore, divorce cases take a lot longer to finalize when one spouse files for bankruptcy while the divorce is pending.

Bankruptcy Cannot Discharge Your Alimony or Child Support Obligations

When you file for bankruptcy, the court discharges those of your debts which it is sure you cannot repay even after making every reasonable effort to do so.  Some types of debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, no matter how desperate your financial situation is.  Alimony and child support obligations fall into this category.  The bankruptcy court reasons that dependent spouses and minor children are not creditors, and that debtors still have an obligation to support them.  If your ex files for bankruptcy during or after your divorce, this does not automatically change the alimony or child support award.  It may even make it easier for you to collect alimony and child support, since your ex will have gotten some other financial obligations discharged, freeing up more money for family support obligations.

Contact an Attorney for Help

A South Florida divorce lawyer can help you if you or your spouse has filed for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy during your divorce case.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.

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