Using Bankruptcy to Manage Debt in Divorce

by | Feb 10, 2014 | Matrimonial Law

Please note that this is not legal advice.  See our disclaimer.

If you have incurred extensive debt during a marriage, or find yourself facing overwhelming financial obligations as a result of a divorce, a personal bankruptcy filing can help you get a fresh financial start. You may have a home that required two incomes to maintain. You may have substantial credit card or medical bills that you simply can’t pay with your income alone. A personal bankruptcy petition can put a stop to all creditor action against you, from phone calls and letters to repossession, foreclosure or other legal actions.

If you are already a party to a divorce, you will most likely be unable to get the cooperation of your ex-spouse to jointly address your financial concerns in a bankruptcy proceeding. When considering bankruptcy, you will want to first determine whether you want to try to keep all your assets and work out new payment plans with creditors, or whether you are willing to sell certain assets in order to be permanently free of some of your financial obligations.

Under Chapter 7, you can permanently discharge unsecured debt, such as credit card obligations, medical bills and signature loans, in exchange for the sale of non-exempt property. Certain debts, such as student loans, some tax obligations and child support arrearages, are generally not eligible for discharge in bankruptcy. In addition, you can often keep up certain items of property, including up to a certain dollar value in homes, cars and personal items.

In a Chapter 13 proceeding, you can keep all your property, but must work out new payment arrangements with all your creditors, agreeing to settle most debts over a three-to-five-year period.

When you file for protection in bankruptcy, you are immediately entitled to the automatic stay established by the federal statute. This prohibits your creditors from calling you, writing you, or taking any legal action against you, other than through the bankruptcy proceeding.

Contact the Law Offices of Hornstine Law, LLC

At Horstine Law, LLC, we have decades of experience.  We work with men and women in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, using our knowledge, skill, experience and resources to help you get the outcome you want. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office online  or call us at 215-568-4968 (in New Jersey at 609-523-2222).

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