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Should You File for Bankruptcy or Divorce First?

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Financial challenges typically accompany a divorce. Oftentimes, if money is not a major issue in the marriage, it can become one as couples head towards divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce, you may wonder whether you should file for bankruptcy or divorce first. Understanding how both the divorce and bankruptcy process works can help you make a better decision regarding your situation, and help you formulate your next steps.

File for Bankruptcy or Divorce First?  

The question many people ask is whether they should file for divorce or bankruptcy first in the state of Georgia? Does it matter? Will it affect child support? Will it affect alimony? Will it affect the divorce proceeding in any way?

These are legitimate questions, and understanding the basics of how each legal proceeding affects the other can help you make a better decision.

  • Bankruptcy is a personal matter, even if you are married. Personal bankruptcy will affect only your personal credit score and your personal financial situation. Filing for bankruptcy will never affect or change your spouse’s credit history or credit score. You never need your spouse’s approval to file for bankruptcy. The only time this is not the case is if two spouses make the decision to jointly file bankruptcy.
  • Divorce. You may choose to file for divorce at any time, either before or after a bankruptcy. If you choose to file for divorce after you file for bankruptcy, there may be a bit more of a complex waiting period, as the court will typically require an “automatic stay” placed on your finances. The reason is to prevent you from disposing of marital assets in a bankruptcy proceeding. You may choose to file for bankruptcy after a divorce is finalized. If you make the choice to file for bankruptcy before a divorce, there may be more complicated legal issues involved, such as an “automatic stay” being placed on your finances. Additionally, filing for bankruptcy before a divorce could affect child support and alimony decisions.

Will I Have to Pay Either Child Support or Alimony After Filing For Bankruptcy?  

Yes. The debt of child support or alimony will never be discharged in a bankruptcy.  You are legally responsible and financially responsible for your child. The court ordered child support to ensure that both parents would have financial responsibility for their child. Additionally, alimony is a process by which one spouse gives financial and equitable restitution to the other. These types of debts are considered priorities under Section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code, and therefore, you will be unable to relieve yourself from the responsibility to pay these debts. 

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Bankruptcy and divorce are challenging and legally complex events on their own. Attempting to merge the two can feel overwhelming. Trying to make so many large life decisions such as divorce and bankruptcy at once can feel overwhelming. The Atlanta divorce attorneys at The Solomon Firm can help you understand your specific options related to your situation, and help you with your next steps. Call 404-565-0641 today for a free consultation.

Resources:

law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/523

georgia.gov/popular-topic/divorce

https://www.thesolomonfirm.com/common-mistakes-made-in-divorce/

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