If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy, yet divorce is also in your future, deciding which comes first requires careful consideration.
Filing for bankruptcy before filing for divorce can be beneficial for several reasons. However, in certain situations, getting divorced first can be the smartest approach.
When Filing for Bankruptcy First Makes Sense
If you’ve decided to divorce, but you’re still on decent terms with your spouse, filing for bankruptcy first may be in your best interests. That way, you can file a joint petition and address all of your debts under one case.
Filing jointly as a married couple can put you in a better financial position and make the divorce process easier. In Utah, if you file for bankruptcy together, you can:
- Double your bankruptcy exemptions and protect more of your property
- Save on filing fees, as they’re the same for individual and joint petitions
- Wipe out all of your qualifying debts, thereby eliminating some of the issues to be addressed in divorce court
When Filing for Divorce First Is Advantageous
Not all divorcing couples get along well enough to file for bankruptcy together, of course. But even if you and your spouse are good friends, filing a joint petition might not be the wisest plan.
If either of the following conditions apply to you, you may be better off taking care of the divorce first and filing for bankruptcy as an individual:
- Your joint income is too high to pass the Chapter 7 means test, but you could qualify individually and avoid a Chapter 13 repayment plan
- Your divorce will involve alimony or child support, and you want to have the amount finalized to protect your interests in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Get Expert Legal Advice Before Making a Decision
Bankruptcy and divorce are complex legal issues on their own, and when you’re facing both, they become even more complicated. Because of this, deciding whether to file for bankruptcy before or after filing for divorce isn’t easy.
Every divorcing couple has unique circumstances to consider in bankruptcy, so getting expert advice from a highly-qualified and experienced lawyer is essential. If you live in northern Utah, turn to the professionals at the Law Office of Davis & Jones for personalized guidance.
Our team of bankruptcy attorneys has a combined 40 years of legal experience, and we’ve helped more than 20,000 Utah residents successfully discharge their debts. You’ll be in good hands with the Law Office of Davis & Jones – contact our Salt Lake City office and schedule a free consultation to discuss your plans to file for bankruptcy and divorce today.