Kentucky Bankruptcy Law

Counsel with Care

Bankruptcy and Divorce: when to file and when to finalize

Please know that even though I represent folks in divorce actions, I truly hate to see divorces happen. If you are interested in knowing why, shoot me an email or give me a call. However, sometimes divorces do occur and often there is a tremendous amount of debt involved. In Kentucky, there is no presumption that debt incurred by one spouse is marital debt, but in these circumstances it is common for there to be marital debt being argued about. It is very smart to get an attorney who understands both family law for your state and bankruptcy law to review the situation and give a recommendation.

True, this involves bringing in yet another lawyer because the lawyer representing either spouse is ethically forbidden from doing a joint representation regarding bankruptcy. The small extra expense may well save a tremendous amount of grief or stress though. The assessment by the bankruptcy attorney will look at whether the couple can file Chapter 7 or if they would be forced into a Chapter 13 because of income levels. They would also help figure out what is marital debt and what is non-marital though this ultimately would be a determination made by the divorce action judge. They would also determine if bankruptcy must be filed prior to the divorce being finalized.

I recently did such an assessment for a couple and informed them, after months of trying to figure this out, that together they would HAVE to file Chapter 13 because their combined income, even with two households, was too high. This knowledge freed them up to look at other options, including finalizing the divorce first and one spouse possibly being able to avoid bankruptcy entirely. I was able to give both attorneys, due to a waiver of conflict, information they needed to consider regarding the settlement agreement and how it treated debts so as to allow the one spouse to achieve bankruptcy without the repercussion of non-dischargeable domestic support obligation of assigned debt.

However, ordinarily it is essential that any bankruptcy be filed prior to finalizing a divorce action so that both parties can realize a fresh start from debt. It is ordinarily much cheaper for a couple to file a joint bankruptcy, even with separate households, than to file separately. Some bankruptcy attorneys do charge more for a joint filing, but it is usually limited to only $200.00 more rather than doubling the fee. I do not routinely charge more for joint filings at this time.

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January 18, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. 200$ fee, don’t you think it is much high ?

    Comment by sumair | March 4, 2012 | Reply

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    Comment by Buy Direct | July 10, 2012 | Reply


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