Should You File for Bankruptcy or Divorce First?

Filing Bankruptcy Together (a.k.a., a Joint Petition)

Many people who are getting divorced near Clearwater cite it as the main reason why they’re also filing bankruptcy. A little planning can make both of these things less complicated and more cost-effective, too. There are certain factors you should consider when determining the best time for filing bankruptcy – things such as where you live, how much property you own, how much debt you have, and what type of bankruptcy you’re trying to file for.

Filing Bankruptcy Together (a.k.a., a Joint Petition)
You, and possibly your spouse, initiate your bankruptcy case by filing the official bankruptcy paperwork with the court. If you choose to file with your spouse, you’ll need to file a “joint petition.” This contains both of your financial information in a single document. Typically, this is more efficient, even for divorcing couples near Clearwater.

The Division of Property
Filing bankruptcy jointly will simplify the division of property in your divorce. However, before doing so, you’ll want to ensure that your state will allow you enough exemptions to protect all the property that you and your spouse own.

There are some states that’ll allow you to double the amount of your exemption if you file jointly. Therefore, if you live in one of these states and own a lot of property, filing for bankruptcy as a couple is a good idea since it’ll double your exemptions. However, if you can’t double your exemptions and you have more property than you’re able to exempt in a joint bankruptcy, it’s probably going to be more advantageous for you to file individually.

You also need to understand that when you file bankruptcy near Clearwater while in the midst of getting a divorce, an automatic stay will place a hold on the property division process. The hold will remain in effect until the end of your bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process that’s designed to eliminate your unsecured debts (e.g., credit cards, medical bills). With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy near Clearwater, you’ll receive a discharge in a few months, making it quick and easy to complete prior to getting a divorce. On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will last between three to five years since you have to pay back part of your debts through a repayment plan. Therefore, with this type of bankruptcy, it’s better to file separately after you start the divorce process.

Income Qualifications for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy near Clearwater
Anyone who chooses to file for Chapter 7 should take their income into consideration. To file jointly, you must consider your combined income. If your joint income is too high, you may not be able to pass the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test. In this case, you wouldn’t qualify to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify on your own, though. This is because the income limits are based on your household size, which means that a household of two is double that of a single person. Typically, it’s only slightly higher, but it may still be to your advantage to wait until each spouse is able to establish a separate household near Clearwater after getting divorced.

Finding Help for Your Bankruptcy
Weller Legal Group in Clearwater, FL, is a reputable law firm that specializes in various areas of law, including personal injury, family law, and criminal defense. With a team of experienced attorneys, they provide high-quality legal representation to clients throughout the Clearwater area. Their commitment to achieving favorable outcomes for their clients and their dedication to personalized attention sets them apart from other law firms in the region.

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