When hard times arrive on your doorstep, they may not be alone. Often, a person considering a bankruptcy is also on the verge of divorce, for instance. You can ask any mental health professional and they will almost certainly agree that divorce and bankruptcy are two of the most stressful experiences that a person can endure. In such seasons of extreme difficulty, it is often difficult to see very far into the future, especially if a person is trying to determine whether he or she should file for bankruptcy or divorce first.
If you find yourself in this difficult circumstance, filing for bankruptcy before divorce presents a few distinct advantages that may make a subsequent divorce easier on both you and your spouse. If, for instance, both you and your spouse are likely to file for bankruptcy, then filing for the bankruptcy while you are married allows you to avoid the costs of filing individual bankruptcies.
Not only does this apply to the expenses incurred through filing the bankruptcy itself, you may also minimize your expenses by using the same attorney to help you walk through the bankruptcy as a couple. Individually hiring attorneys to do the same job for respective spouses only doubles the legal fees involved.
In some cases, couples who file for bankruptcy together can claim larger exemptions than the spouses may claim individually. This may allow you to retain a greater portion of your assets to divide fairly later on.
At the same time, it is also possible that choosing bankruptcy first may grant you time to address the issues at the heart of your marriage, once some of the pressure is off. You may even find that your marriage is worth saving, once you begin walking through bankruptcy together and seeing progress.
However you choose to proceed, be sure to do so with qualified legal counsel to ensure that you fully understand the requirements of the bankruptcy you choose and to protect your rights throughout the process.