Divorce

Understand how bankruptcy affects divorce and find answers to other questions and concerns you have.

How to get debt relief without risking your safety

Filing for bankruptcy protection can be a powerful step towards not only financial freedom, but freedom from financial oppression. It is possible to get this relief without risking your or your children’s safety. This article is all about making sure that your abuser can’t use the bankruptcy court system to further victimize you. 

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Filing bankruptcy after a divorce

It’s not at all uncommon for either or both spouses to file for bankruptcy following a divorce. It could be that issues in the marriage led to financial problems. Or perhaps financial strains added to marital issues. Either way, the two often go hand-in-hand. If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy after a divorce, there are several things you should keep in mind.

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Why filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy while getting a divorce is probably a bad idea

Unfortunately, divorce and bankruptcy can go hand-in-hand at times, so it’s important to know how a divorce affects a bankruptcy case. If you’re considering divorcing your spouse and are thinking about addressing your debts through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, continue reading.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect Alimony?

You will still be obligated to pay alimony if you file for bankruptcy. Alimony is not a dischargeable debt.

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I am planning to get married soon after I file. Will my bankruptcy affect my spouse?

Usually your individual bankruptcy will not affect your new spouse. If you are filing for a Chapter 7, is can be helpful to wait until after you receive your discharge to get married just in case.

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I'm married. Will filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy affect my spouse?

If you’re filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your spouse is not, you may be wondering whether they are going to be affected. The short answer is that if your debts are separate, their credit will not be impacted.

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What is Community Debt?

"Community Debt" is: - any debt that you or your spouse acquired *__while married__* or - any debt for which you and your spouse are co-signers

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Why is my spouse's financial info needed if I'm filing by myself?

The court requires your spouse's income because it needs a full financial picture of your family.  

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If I'm a widow, do I need to list my deceased spouse on my forms?

If your former spouse earned taxable income in the current year or the two years prior, you will need to list that income on your bankruptcy forms. You do not need to list any income that they earned prior to this time period, and __*you do not need to list them as a member of your household.*__

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Can I file bankruptcy with my spouse through Upsolve?

Under the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules, you can file for bankruptcy with your spouse. Sadly, Upsolve does not allow for joint filings. If you and your spouse want to file with Upsolve, you can file separately. We discourage this because you may have to pay two separate filing fees. 

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If my spouse and I have joint debt, do I have to list them on my forms?

Yes, you do. You will list them as "someone who is legally obligated to pay your debts."

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Should I file for bankruptcy before I get married?

Having a spouse does not automatically mean a bankruptcy affects both of you. However, if you and your future spouse have joint debts then there are multiple factors to consider such as whether one or both of you need to file, what your future plans are and if you want to conserve costs to file.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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