Boca Raton Bankruptcy & Divorce Lawyer
Marriage dissolution and financial bankruptcy are very common in Florida. Money is often the common denominator in these matters. Financial disputes are the leading cause of marital strife. Most people file bankruptcy because of job loss, sudden illness, economic downturn, or another such event that throws the family’s monthly income-expense balance completely out of whack. So, if you are in bankruptcy court, there is a very good chance you’ll be in divorce court as well.
Individually, these matters are complex enough. A divorce/bankruptcy combination overwhelms many legal representatives. But the experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy & divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard routinely handle these dual matters in Palm Beach County and nearby jurisdictions. Your dual matter is not a good vehicle for another lawyer’s on-the-job training. Because we are familiar with all court rules, we pour all our effort into producing the best possible result under the circumstances.
Bankruptcy Nuts and Bolts
There are basically two consumer bankruptcy options. Chapter 7 is designed for people with unsecured debt they cannot pay, such as credit cards and medical bills. Chapter 13 gives people who are behind on secured debt payments up to five years to make monthly catch-up payments.
Procedurally, these two forms of bankruptcy are much the same. Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay immediately halts adverse creditor actions, such as:
- Wage garnishment,
- Collection lawsuits,
- Creditor harassment, and
In some cases, a divorce could be a “collection lawsuit.” So, a bankruptcy filing could put the brakes on a divorce proceeding. That’s just one reason to file bankruptcy before divorce.
Property liquidation is mostly a myth. The Bankruptcy Code protects most of your assets from creditor seizure. Luxury items, like vacation homes and yachts, are the only potential liquidation target in most cases.
Chapter 7 almost immediately discharges most unsecured debts. Chapter 13 does the same thing, once debtors have time to catch up on home mortgage and other secured debts.
Why You Should File Bankruptcy Before Divorce
By the time one spouse utters the D-word, both spouses are normally ready to move on. But that’s not always the case. Some spouses earnestly want to work on their problems. Whether you want a divorce or not, it’s usually a good idea to file bankruptcy before divorce.
Since Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 eliminate debt, filing bankruptcy before divorce shrinks the marital estate. That usually means lower marriage dissolution legal fees, and a more direct path to an out-of-court settlement.
Married spouses may jointly file bankruptcy. But joint filing is not a requirement. In fact, one spouse doesn’t even need the other spouse’s consent to file bankruptcy, at least in most cases.
On the other hand, if you still hold out hope for your marriage, bankruptcy could be the device that saves it. As mentioned, money squabbles are the leading cause of marital strife. Bankruptcy effectively removes money from the equation. Furthermore, if you and your spouse work together with a Boca Raton bankruptcy & divorce attorney, that collaboration could serve as a foundation for reconciliation.
Rely on an Experienced Palm Beach County Bankruptcy Lawyer
If crushing debt is a problem, legal solutions are available. For a free consultation with an experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy & divorce attorney, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard. After-hours visits are available.