Divorce And Bankruptcy


dividing things in divorceA couple going through divorce often find it helpful to include a bankruptcy as part of the plan to divide assets.  At one time the main thrust of a divorce case was to decide:

  • who gets custody of the kids, in Ohio we are politically correct. These are parental rights.
  • Who gets to pay child support
  • Will there be Alimony? Again, in Ohio this is called spousal support. We are just so correct, aren’t we?
  • How will the marital assets be divided?

The domestic relations landscape has changed with the twenty first century. In most cases between working people the key issue is splitting the debt. Someone will be awarded a home that is worth less than what is owed. Can’t leave out the massive credit card debt. Someone has to be ordered to pay it. The court will try to fairly divide the assets and the debt.

As a married couple there is probably not enough money coming in to make it work financially with one home. How is the same income going to work for two homes with one, the other, or both of you under a court order to pay bills you can’t afford?

One of my biggest referral sources are divorce attorneys. Imagine being able to resolve your family issues without the need to worry about paying off the marital bills.

If the bills are in both names then it will be necessary for you both to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. So long as you are still married this can be done in a joint chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, even if you are not living in the same household. In my office the difference in cost between a single and a joint bankruptcy filing is the cost of one extra credit report…$22.00.

If you file a joint chapter 7 bankruptcy petition the law does not require the court to stop the proceedings.  As a point of practice the domestic relations courts in Lorain County do not believe this, and they will stay the case between the chapter 7 bankruptcy filing date and the discharge date.   If only one of you file for bankruptcy then the automatic stay does apply to stop the divorce. The delay is only for about 90 days.

Think about it for a moment, take the bills off the table. Suddenly one of the biggest sticking points to resolving your divorce is gone. Negotiations can get under way. Resolutions are easier. Divorce attorney fees are lower. Divorce and Bankruptcy when you have lots of bills is win win. You don’t even have to wait for your divorce attorney to suggest it. Thinking divorce or dissolution? Call me.
Creative Commons License photo credit: chavezonico Creative Commons License photo credit: grittycitygirl

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Bill Balena

Bill Balena is a Bankruptcy attorney with an office in Westlake, Ohio. I represent consumers in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. I am also an accomplished dui/ovi trial attorney.

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