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Should you file bankruptcy or divorce first?

iStock-184324155.jpgYou and your spouse have decided to get a divorce -- and it isn't a cordial one. Your spouse abruptly abandons you, the marital home and the majority of the debts and doesn't seem to care much about what's happening to your credit.

What do you do now?

First, don't rush out to file bankruptcy just yet. While it's unpleasant to deal with a bunch of mounting debts and the increasingly anxious contacts from creditors, you need to worry about your own financial future just now -- not your creditors.

If your spouse is willing to delay the divorce, it may be to your advantage to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy prior to your divorce. That will clear away a number of debts (if not all of them) and make the division of marital assets much easier once you do get around to divorce. Since a Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically is over in a matter of months, this could appeal to your spouse even if you aren't on great terms.

If your spouse isn't willing to delay the divorce or you think you don't qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will have to file Chapter 13 (which can take three to five years to resolve), you don't want to throw the divorce in disarray by filing bankruptcy. The automatic stay that goes into place once you file for bankruptcy could make it impossible for the marital assets to be divided -- and that could make your divorce a very long and troubled process.

Divorce often results in complicated financial situations. It can be hard to know what to do without some experienced guidance. Talk to an attorney about your situation and learn as much as you can about the property division process before you make any decisions. Remember -- just because your spouse is acting rashly, you don't have to follow suit!

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Accolades & Achievements

Brandon, Karen, Michael, Megan and Laura Are Proud To Have Achieved The Following Legal Accolades for Exemplary Legal Service.

*Karen Marvel was recognized in Texas Monthly in 2008-2019 as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service)

**Karen Marvel is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization