Bankruptcy and Divorce

Divorce can cause financial strains. Filing for bankruptcy can seem tempting, as you try to start over with a clean slate. You or your former spouse may want to refresh your finances, but keep in mind there are different factors to consider before you file. Child support and alimony are not dischargeable in bankruptcy court, no matter what chapter you file under. The state you file in, and the amount of debt you owe, directly correlates with how your bankruptcy will affect your divorce. Hiring an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer with experience in divorce cases is crucial for a fair outcome.

A little planning ahead and knowledgeable legal representation can save you time and money in the long run. While we are not offering bankruptcy attorney services, we are reasonably knowledgeable about the process and how it can affect your divorce process.

 Choosing to file for bankruptcy before or after your divorce is dependent upon where you live, how much property you own, the amount of debt you have, and which type of bankruptcy you plan to file. Bankruptcy fees are the same amount whether you file individually or jointly, so filing jointly before the divorce can save you money in court fees. Additionally, attorney fees will be lower if you file jointly. Filing for bankruptcy before the divorce can prevent battles over property and issues surrounding debt, which will lower your divorce costs. A concern is that bankruptcy may delay your divorce proceedings. Moreover, filing jointly may reveal your combined income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7.

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A family law attorney can prepare a Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage, which will determine the assets and financial obligations of each party. In the state of Florida, debtors are not able to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions; residents are required to use only the Florida exemptions. According to the Florida Homestead Exemption, residents may exempt an unlimited amount of value in their home or property. Residents can exempt personal property of up to $1,000, in addition to motor vehicle annuity of up to $1,000. Florida exemptions also include wages, pensions, retirement funds, public benefits, and insurance policies.

Bankruptcy and divorce can get complicated, and not all lawyers can assist you. In the state of Florida, divorce is regulated by family law. An experienced Orlando family lawyer, skilled in the area of divorce, can help you navigate around the complexities of divorce and bankruptcy.