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Should you get a divorce before you file for bankruptcy?

When major issues come up in life, it is not always easy to find a solution to them. Even if you know that the only way to fix certain problems is to take substantial steps, it can be difficult to know when and how to take those steps. For example, if you are facing tremendous debt issues, you may feel the need to file for bankruptcy. However, your marriage may also be coming to an end, and you do not know which issue to handle first.

As with most difficult situations, the answer to whether to file for bankruptcy or divorce first is: it depends. Your personal circumstances will play a significant role in whether you want to move through the bankruptcy process before getting divorced or whether getting a divorce first would be more favorable.

Divorce then bankruptcy

Getting a divorce first may make sense if you have concerns about your joint income affecting the type of bankruptcy for which you may qualify. If you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in hopes of having at least some of your outstanding debt discharged, you will need to meet the income requirements. If you file for bankruptcy before your divorce, both your income and your spouse's income will determine whether you qualify, and together, you may make too much. However, if you divorce first, your individual income may qualify.

Bankruptcy then divorce

If you and your spouse are still at a point where you can work together, you may believe it feasible to file for bankruptcy and then move forward with divorce. You may feel this way because you do not want to have to go through the hassle of dividing marital debt during the divorce process and would rather address the debt before ending your marriage. If successful, completing bankruptcy first could help your divorce go more quickly. You may also be able to keep more of your assets filing together.

Of course, Tennessee laws and other details may affect which process you can complete first. As a result, it is wise to gain reliable and accurate information about your specific options. It may be in your interests to consult with an experienced attorney who can go over your bankruptcy options and detail whether bankruptcy first then divorce or vice versa would better suit your circumstances.

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