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Which Comes First - Divorce or Bankruptcy? Part 1

You might've heard that both filings go hand in hand, as ultimately the common goal is to resolve certain issues, often financial and practical. Bankruptcy is mostly financial, starting with a clean slate – and divorce can be the same, but on a more comprehensive lifestyle clean slate, minus a spouse. The biggest question, though, is this: which should you file for first?

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Oddly enough, both ways have their advantages. It depends on your situation. That's why we've got two parts to this series, and we take it very seriously as to how you should examine your situation with a dedicated and experienced attorney. In this case, we need to look at bankruptcy – why file this claim first?

First off, when you're on good terms with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, undoubtedly, bankruptcy may be a way to go first before petitioning for that divorce. Why? Given the fact that you're not at each other's throats, it would be sensible to file for that bankruptcy together to resolve any joint debts you may have. That makes the divorce petition that much easier. Additionally, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a lot easier to file when you have a case involving one spouse making all the money over the other. As long as you agree on it, your filing for bankruptcy would be a breeze.

Car loans, home mortgages and other contracts – they dissolve immediately. It simplifies everything. Eliminate all that debt, and there won't be any disagreements or disputes over who should pay what during the divorce petition. Give yourself 90 days to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and you should be all set. Consider your options, though, with Chapter 13, as that involves a repayment plan for which both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will be responsible. Once your filing – whatever it may be, Chapter 7 or 13 – is complete, you're ready to divorce.