My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Divorce and bankruptcy and the order that they are accomplished can have a major effect on each other and on you for some time. Depending on what type of bankruptcy you are considering, the timing of the filing and the filing of a divorce mean could very different outcomes. To learn more about the order of the two based on the type of bankruptcy, exemptions and your income, read on.
Type of Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
Since chapter 7 bankruptcies can be complete in a matter of a few months, you may want to complete this type of bankruptcy prior to your divorce. The bankruptcy will cause a major change in your debt situation, which may be a beneficial move for some. Many divorces involve a great deal of acrimony about debt. A chapter 7 filing, unlike a chapter 13 filing, will eliminate virtually all debt, paving the way for less-contentious divorce proceedings. Even those not contemplating a bankruptcy are advised to pay off joint debt prior to a divorce filing. It should be noted that you cannot count on a chapter 7 filing to eliminate tax or student loan debt
On the other hand, a chapter 13 filing could take from two to five years to be complete and you may not want to stay married that much longer, if yours is a joint filing. Since a chapter 13 is more of a reorganization of debt, rather than a debt eliminator, you will likely need to file singly if you want to divorce during the course of this type of bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Before Divorce
Staying married long enough to complete a chapter 7 bankruptcy allows couples to double the amount of exemptions (in some states) they can deduct. An exemption is the dollar amount you can deduct from your property, like real estate and vehicles, and it thus increases the chances of keeping that property. Since assets that are valued at over a certain dollar amount (which varies by state) must be surrendered, you and your spouse could end up with more property to divide when you do get around to divorcing.
Chapter 7 After Divorce
The federal bankruptcy code has provisions in place to prevent those who have higher-than-normal incomes from filing bankruptcy. The so-called "means" test utilizes your state's median income level to disqualify those who make too much money from filing. Filing after divorce provides you with the potential for a lower income, allowing you to qualify. There are more variables, such as the type of income you have, what the state defines as income and your household size to consider, but exploring this possibility should not be overlooked. Calculators are available to give filers a general idea of median incomes for filing purposes.
Contact a bankruptcy lawyer like Collins Toner & Rusen for more information about the financial implications of divorce and bankruptcy.