Divorce Debt Attorney in Springfield
Divorce is one of the leading causes of
bankruptcy. Often debt problems are part of the stresses leading to divorce and bankruptcy.
The main issues to be addressed in a divorce are:
- Who gets the kids
- Who gets the property
- Who gets the debt
While bankruptcy does not help you decide who gets the kids and the property,
it can help ease issues over who gets the debt. If a couple files a joint
bankruptcy before their divorce is final, they can eliminate the issue
of dividing debt that is discharged in bankruptcy.
However, many factors should be considered when determining the best course
of action when contemplating divorce and bankruptcy. For example, your
income and liability on debts may affect the timing of your bankruptcy
and the chapter of bankruptcy you file. Likewise, the language in the
proposed divorce decree and marital settlement agreement should be carefully
reviewed by an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine your best
options in a bankruptcy case.
If a couple does not agree to file a joint bankruptcy, and it does require
some cooperation, then care should be taken by the party deciding to file
bankruptcy by him or herself. While a joint bankruptcy before a divorce
is usually the best option, there are some circumstances when an individual
bankruptcy may be preferable.
Who Is Responsible for Marital Debt After Divorce?
The need for bankruptcy can sometimes be better assessed after the divorce
is final. Keep in mind that if you are liable for a debt, your problems
are not over if the divorce court orders your ex-spouse to pay that debt.
There is a common misconception that the division of debt in a divorce
decree changes who a creditor may pursue when a debt is not paid. However,
a creditor can still pursue both parties on a joint debt, regardless of
who was assigned the debt in the divorce.
If your former spouse does not pay the debt, the creditor can then collect
against you, and you cannot use the divorce court's order to defend against
that collection as you are in fact still liable for the debt.
The divorce court's order to pay alimony or child support can never be
eliminated by bankruptcy. However, joint debts divided between the parties
can be eliminated if evaluated appropriately by an attorney who is familiar
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and
Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
It is important to hire an attorney who handles both chapters because the
language in a divorce decree can impact the ability of certain debts to
be discharged in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. This is one of the reasons
why the decision to consult with a bankruptcy attorney prior to your divorce
being finalized is in your best interests if there are joint debts from
If you are talking to a divorce attorney while contemplating divorce, you
should also consider talking to a bankruptcy attorney to consider whether
a bankruptcy before or after the divorce will be the most beneficial.
Additionally, if you hire a bankruptcy attorney and divorce lawyer, they
can work together to get the best result for you to eliminate debt.