Kentucky Bankruptcy Law

Counsel with Care

The Debt / Divorce Correlation

Common thought has long been that severe financial stress leads to divorce. Such ideas, when repeated often enough, are accepted as truth without much scrutiny. However, research exists to refute this conclusion (here is one example from 2006 though it focuses on only one culture). I suspect the answer is, as Suzy Brown (Director of Midlife Divorce Recovery Bootcamp) suggests, difficult financial situations bring some couples to renew their efforts to make their marriage work while pushing others over the edge to divorce and I doubt a strong correlation between debt and divorce would be found in the United States population.

What does appear clear is that mounting debt and dire economic circumstances lead to increased stress for many folks. Finances then become a source of marital strife. For those whom such strife pushes toward divorce, I find it troubling that they would think of dissolving their marriage long before contemplating eradicating their debt.

Somehow in our society it has become more acceptable to sever the marriage ties while it remains unthinkable to file for bankruptcy and release the weight of debt. And yet, bankruptcy very well could be the thing that relieves enough stress for those looking to divorce as a solution to back up and give their marriage another chance. It often appears to be either an issue of pride where they created the debt thus they will be responsible for repaying it come hell or high water. Logically then, those same sentiments of honoring a contract should apply even more to the contract of marriage which is usually a covenant ratified before God.

To be clear, I do respect people who desire to be responsible for the debts they created. However there are circumstances when the fresh start that bankruptcy can offer is the best course to pursue. The bankrupcty code (specifically Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) is meant to provide a safety valve for individuals who, by honest mistake or life circumstances, got into debt beyond what they can reasonably manage.

In essence, it is legislative grace that not only helps those individuals but greases the gears of our economy on the larger scale. Our modern day bankruptcy code can be traced to God’s original notions of bankruptcy. That’s right, God designed a bankruptcy code long ago and it can be found in Deuteronomy (begin your review in Chapter 15). In contrast to the year of jubilee and that system of debt relief, Holy Scripture offers only narrow circumstances where divorce is condoned.

So, I urge those folks who are experiencing marital strife including over mounting debt to go talk to someone who knows bankruptcy law and see if you could qualify for relief through a Chapter 7 or 13. If so, that may give you enough relief from the economic tension to focus on strengthening your marriage.

You can find practitioners who are versed in both family law and bankruptcy for an even fuller picture of your options and the consequences of each. I, for one, would far rather represent a couple in a bankruptcy so they can enjoy a real fresh start financially than represent that same couple in a divorce.

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February 22, 2013 - Posted by | Bankruptcy, Divorce, Family Law | , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. […] benefit your family regardless of whether the divorce occurs or not (though hopefully, as I stated here, the divorce could be avoided). Knowing the exemption and interplay of bankruptcy and family law […]

    Pingback by Family Law Planning & Bankruptcy « Lexington Bankruptcy & Family Law | December 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Very informative. I enjoyed the article very much!

    Comment by Bill Cash | December 31, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] year and most of those people are folks who wish to honor the debts they incur (as I pointed out in this post, the Jubilee system was a precursor of modern bankruptcy). Bankruptcy is merely the most efficient […]

    Pingback by Learning to live lean « Lexington Bankruptcy & Family Law | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  4. Excellent post ! Not to mention all the health problems that come from stressing over excessive debt !

    Comment by John Rogers | February 22, 2013 | Reply


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