Bankruptcy Before of After Divorce?

Since financial problems are at the root of many martial problems, the question is often raised: Should we file bankruptcy before or after the divorce?

My normal advice is to try and file before the divorce. If you discharge the debts and otherwise deal with the property in the bankruptcy, it eliminates some of the issues which may be contested in the divorce.

One of the main questions to ask is: Can I get along and stay married to this schmuck for the next 4 months to 5 years (for a Chapter 13)? If the answer is no, then you should be filing separate. If you are on good terms with your spouse, it will be cheaper to file together, but if fights break out, I may have to withdraw and each party would need to find its own attorney.

Another option would be to file separately while still married. There is nothing in the bankruptcy code requiring a married couple to file together. Depending on the financial situation of the parties, there may be benefits to filing separately.

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