Boca Raton Bankruptcy & Divorce Lawyer
Many Florida marriages fall apart due to financial problems. Debt often adds strain to an already stressful marital situation. And divorce often makes things worse, as now the separated spouses need to worry about rebuilding their lives without the financial support of the other.
It should come as no surprise, then, that bankruptcy and divorce are often intertwined. A question many couples have is, “Should we file for bankruptcy or divorce first?” The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, and it is not something you and your partner should try to figure out on your own. The Boca Raton bankruptcy & divorce lawyers at Nowack & Olson can assist you in deciding whether or not to seek bankruptcy protection before, during, or after your divorce.
Who Is Responsible for Our Debts in a Divorce?
As you probably already know, during a Florida divorce proceeding the court must “equitably” divide any marital property between the spouses. What you may not realize is the court must also allocate any debts acquired during the marriage. This can be a point of contention, especially if one spouse accumulated the majority of the debt and the other does not want to be held responsible for it.
In situations like these, filing for bankruptcy before divorce can help resolve the impasse. In a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, most of the couple’s debts can be discharged entirely. This takes the question of “Who is responsible for the debt?” off the table and allows the parties to continue with the divorce process unencumbered by one spouse’s past financial mistakes.
Do You and Your Spouse Have to File for Bankruptcy Together?
Another question we commonly get at Nowack & Olson is, “Do we have to file for bankruptcy jointly?” Legally, one spouse can file for bankruptcy without the other. But there are a number of legal and administrative reasons why this may not be ideal. For instance, if one spouse files for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court can still consider the non-filing spouse’s income as part of the “means test,” which may ultimately bar a Chapter 7 filing. In addition, when spouses jointly file they can “double” a number of bankruptcy exemptions, allowing the divorcing couple to retain more of the property in the long run.
That said, there are some scenarios where one spouse would be better of filing alone. This is why it is critical to consult a Boca Raton bankruptcy and divorce lawyer before making any final decisions. Every couple’s situation is unique, and you should seek out specific advice tailored to you.
Call Nowack & Olson to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation
The Boca Raton bankruptcy & divorce lawyers at Nowack & Olson have more than 20 years experience helping Floridians like you deal with the bankruptcy process. Our only goal is to achieve the best possible resolution of your bankruptcy filing. While a divorce is an inherently traumatic experience, we can assist you in relieving you and your estranged spouse of the burdens of outstanding debts. Call us today at 888-813-4737 to schedule a free initial consultation.