does my spouse filing for bankruptcy affect me?
Getting married, while an important expression of love and commitment, is typically also seen as a good financial move. It’s nice to live in a two-income home– not to mention the fact that married couples who file taxes jointly can receive a pretty hefty tax deduction.
Married couples may also enjoy an ability to secure larger loans, which can help with purchasing property or other major investments.
But because getting married typically involves combining finances, there’s a lot of confusion over the subject of bankruptcy.
What does it mean to file for bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is often seen as a last-resort financial decision made by people who are struggling with long-term debts that they are unable to pay off.
While finding relief from your debts sounds great, filing for bankruptcy is a major decision with long-term consequences.
In order to file for bankruptcy, you have to prove that you cannot pay your debts. You may also have to complete credit counseling, in which you’ll figure out a budget plan and explore some alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.
If you do decide to proceed with filing, it means that you can avoid home foreclosure, debt collections, and wage garnishments that you may be dealing with.
What are the two types of bankruptcy?
In order to file for bankruptcy, you must choose either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out most (but not necessarily all) of your outstanding debts– but in return, you may have to relinquish some of your property. You’ll be required to sell off your assets, with the exception of certain things like cars and home furnishings.
However, a large percentage of Chapter 7 bankruptcies are considered “no-asset” cases, in which debt is eliminated without having to sell property because there isn’t any non-exempt property to sell.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves repayment of your debts, either in full or in part. To file for this type of bankruptcy, you have to create a payment plan that shows the court that you are willing to pay off the debts that you owe. Legally, creditors have to leave you alone as long as you are making the agreed-upon payments.
Does filing for either type of bankruptcy affect my spouse?
This question really depends on the specifics of your debt.
If the debts that you’re unable to pay off were yours prior to getting married, the bankruptcy should only affect the spouse in debt.
When only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will appear on that spouse’s credit report, but should not appear on the other spouse’s at all.
Meanwhile, if the debts were jointly incurred, it might be a wise decision to file for bankruptcy jointly. This can actually help you save money, since you’ll only be paying court and attorney fees once– and it means that the problem can be solved for both of you at the same time.
What do I do if I need to file for bankruptcy?
While it’s legally permissible to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, it’s highly recommended that individuals seek legal counsel before going through the process of filing.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the court system to ensure proper compliance with everything you’re required to do. They can also help seek the best possible outcome for you and your family.
An “uncontested divorce” is one in which the parties are not fighting about whether there are good reasons for divorce. Or, to be a little more specific, the party against whom a ground is alleged has agreed that the other party’s allegations are true.
Can a divorce really be “uncontested?”
But any decent Arkansas family lawyer knows that there’s almost always going to be some kind of pushback in a divorce. It’s a lawsuit—the parties are going to disagree. No divorce is ever truly “uncontested.” Selling people on this false dichotomy—and then jacking the price up at the slightest hint of (the inevitable) conflict is a bad way to generate business.
The better way to think about a divorce is that it’s on a spectrum of conflict. It’s not either contested or uncontested. It’s not either a $750 divorce or a $30,000 divorce. It is always contested; my job is to find out where the conflict lies, charge someone to handle it, and resolve it.
Or, put another way, my job is to take the divorce that might be expensive and make it cost less. That is what I try to do.
This is just one of the many ways we try to practice a different kind of Arkansas family law. If you’re in the market for something different, give us a call and we can tell you more about it.