A divorce’s financial and emotional strain can take its toll on anyone. One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with a newly single life is navigating the world of finances, specifically credit card debt, taxes, and banking. The interplay between divorce, debt, and bankruptcy can be complex in the context of divorce. The timing of divorce and bankruptcy filings and the specific details of your financial situation can significantly impact the outcome. It’s essential to consult with both a divorce and bankruptcy attorney to explore your options and determine the best course of action based on your circumstances.
Divorce, debt, and marriage are interwoven aspects of our personal and financial lives that can profoundly impact individuals and families. The decision to enter into marriage involves a commitment to share love and companionship and the responsibilities and obligations of merging finances and assets. However, when marriages end in divorce, the division of debts and assets can become complex and contentious, requiring careful consideration and legal guidance.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
It is meant to help individuals clear their outstanding debt. It allows the debtor to liquidate all property, real or personal, and discharge the debt in one fell swoop. No repayment plans or repayment plans are assigned, meaning that unsecured creditors are paid in full from any money available at the time of filing.
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
The process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straightforward. The debtor must file an initial petition with their local bankruptcy court, which then notifies the major credit reporting agencies and sends a notice to the debtor’s creditors. All creditors have 20 days to object to the bankruptcy; if they do so, they are given additional time to respond. The debtor then has 30 days in which to respond to these objections.
Who is eligible to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Anyone who has unpaid debt may be eligible. This includes credit cards, medical bills, tuition/educational loans, child support, alimony, etc. Many people in these situations mistakenly believe they are not eligible because of previous bankruptcy or because they owe too little money. This is only sometimes the case, and if there are any questions about whether a person is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they should contact a lawyer immediately. For eligibility, you need to qualify in the following:
You must pass the means test, which compares your income to the median income in your state for a household of a similar size. If your income is below the median, you generally qualify for Chapter 7. If your income exceeds the median, you may still qualify after deducting specific expenses and demonstrating an inability to repay your debts.
Previous Bankruptcy Discharge
If you have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the past eight years, you are generally ineligible for another Chapter 7 discharge. However, you may be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Here, debtors handle their debt slightly differently. Instead of liquidating all property and essentially starting over, in this process, the debtor pays back a portion of their outstanding debt over an extended period while still maintaining the majority of their assets. This allows them to retain some stability and income during a stressful time in life.
How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?
The process of filing such a bankruptcy is similar to how Chapter 7 works, with the debtor setting up a repayment plan over three to five years. The debtor has one year after their Chapter 13 filing is completed to make all payments to their creditors. After this time, they are discharged from their bankruptcy and can begin seeking an unsecured loan or credit card.
Who is eligible to file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the United States, you must meet specific requirements:
You must have a regular source of income, such as employment, self-employment, or steady income from other sources. This is to ensure that you have the means to make the monthly payments required under the Chapter 13 repayment plan.
There are specific limits on the amount of debt you can have to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These limits may vary depending on the current bankruptcy laws in your jurisdiction.
Previous Bankruptcy Discharge
If you have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the past four years or a Chapter 13 case within the past two years, you may have limitations on your eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There are restrictions on how frequently you can file for bankruptcy. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is an eight-year waiting period between discharges, while for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the waiting period between previous Chapter 13 cases is two years.
Both require credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days of filing.
The process of filing for bankruptcy is a challenging one. It requires the knowledge and expertise of a qualified lawyer to prepare the paperwork correctly, review all pertinent information, and provide thorough assistance throughout the process. It’s important to note that bankruptcy laws and eligibility requirements can vary, and the specific criteria may differ based on your jurisdiction. Consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney familiar with your area’s laws is crucial to determining your eligibility and understanding the specific requirements you need to meet.
Navigating the complexities of divorce debt, and marriage requires a thorough understanding of legal and financial implications. It is essential to approach these matters with clear communication and open-mindedness. By seeking informed advice and making well-informed decisions, individuals can work towards resolving debt issues and ensuring a fair distribution of assets, ultimately moving forward into a new chapter of their lives with more excellent financial stability and emotional well-being.