My wife is about to leave me. She hasn't had a real job (just babysitting) in nearly 4 years. We've both drained our 401K and our savings. If she leaves, I won't be able to afford my house AND other bills. Should I file for bankruptcy before I file for divorce or afterwards? I have been in my house for nearly 15 years so I don't want to lose it, but again, I can't afford it plus the 2nd mortgage, 2 credit cards, etc.
You need to see a bankruptcy attorney before that question can be definitively answered. In all likelihood, since your wife hasn't worked, her income won't prevent you from qualifying for a Chapter 7. I assume that you would be discharging debts that you're both responsible for. In that case, filing a joint bankruptcy petition prior to divorce makes sense. The reason is that if there are joint debts you discharge, the creditors will then go after her. She will then have to file bankruptcy. Thus, filing before divorce saves the cost of an additional bankruptcy.
I wish you the best of luck. But please do contact a local bankruptcy attorney for a consultation.
Best Regards, Jeff
I agree that a joint bankruptcy while you are still married is advisable. Gets rid of all the debt, so you two can concentrate on dividing up what is left and get a true fresh start once the divorce is final.
The answer can swing both ways depending on your unique situation. I generally believe that it is best to finalize the divorce before bankruptcy so that assignment of the liabilities, if any, are known. There are many people who have filed bankruptcy, just to find out that a divorce court judge has ordered them to pay the debt anyway on behalf of the other spouse (hold harmless) via the divorce decree. But, depending on what kind of joint liabilities you have, and your spouse's cooperative nature, filing bankruptcy first may indeed be prudent in your situation.
Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.
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