Divorce and Bankruptcy
Marriage asks a lot of people. It takes patience, commitment, understanding, love and sometimes a bit of good fortune, among other factors. If a marriage crumbles under the weight of one or more of these factors, it can often cause a ripple effect into one’s economic situation and bankruptcy can follow.
Similarly, financial troubles such as going through a bankruptcy can exacerbate fault lines in a marriage, resulting in divorce. Thus divorce can lead to bankruptcy, and bankruptcy to divorce. You may be facing two of the most challenging events in your life simultaneously, a tall order for any one. But at Sheppard Law Offices, we’re here to help and act as your guide and avoid the pitfalls that rap others. You can survive this experience and in fact, rebuild both your romantic and financial life.
At Sheppard Law Offices, we concentrate our practice in bankruptcy and tax law matters that may involve divorce issues and proceedings. You may have questions such as:
- Can I file for bankruptcy even if my spouse is unwilling to participate?
- Will my spouse’s bankruptcy affect current or future child support issues?
- Should I file for divorce first, then bankruptcy, or bankruptcy and then divorce?
These can be complicated and the answers need to be personalized and unique to your needs. Our legal team will meet with you and review your current situation and provide a proper consultation, including the benefits and drawbacks of the options available to you. And it’s important that while decisions will likely need to be made in a timely manner, this is not a time to rush decisions either.
How can filing for bankruptcy affect my divorce?
You should know that once a bankruptcy is filed (both for Chapter 7 and 13), an automatic stay is put in place that halts creditors from contacting you and freezes your assets and property. Since a large part of the divorce process (excluding family matters) is splitting up assets this automatic stay makes it impossible for the family court to access and divide your assets.
This is why many people choose not to file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time. However, again, it’s important to remember that what’s right for many may not be right for you.
Legal costs may be quite considerable
While cost should never be the sole factor in either making decisions or determining which legal advice to hire, it is a consideration particularly given the severe financial strain customers going through a divorce/bankruptcy can find themselves under. You should be aware that if for instance you and your spouse hired a divorce attorney together and you file for bankruptcy during this time, you may need to hire an additional attorney.
This is because attorneys are barred from representing clients that have a conflict of interest with each other – and filing a bankruptcy may result in the lawyer’s clients now being opponents in another legal matter. Hiring an additional attorney will incur costs as you’ll need to provide them the updates on the case(s) so far, as well as paying for the attorneys themselves
What should you do now?
The first thing you should do is realize that you have options. The second thing you should do is take the time to explore your options and assess the pros and cons. We also recommend that you make an extra effort to take care of your physical health – eating well and exercise can help keep not just your body but your mind strong during this trying time.
Our legal team is to here to help you with concerns over divorce, bankruptcy, debt, rebuilding credit and getting on with the business of tomorrow. This is really about rebuilding your life and you need a firm that will be there for you every step of the way. We’re available online, in person or by phone to have a free consultation with you. Call us at (941)792-1404 to get the conversation started. We’re here to listen, advise and most of all, help.