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Personal, Professional & Affordable  Bankruptcy Attorney  Family Law Attorney
Des Moines, Iowa

When Bankruptcy and Divorce Intersect

Bankruptcy and divorce often go hand-in-hand, but few people understand that the order in which you file for bankruptcy and divorce matters. Filing in the right order can save you both money and stress.

At the Law Office of Tod J. Beavers, P.C., in Des Moines, our primary areas of focus are family law and bankruptcy law. Our founding lawyer, Tod J. Beavers, has a Masters of Laws in taxation and substantial experience in financial planning. You can trust that Mr. Beavers will not only be a strong advocate during both your bankruptcy and divorce cases, but also protect your finances every step of the way. Call 515-875-4812 to learn more in a free initial consultation.

What Comes First: Bankruptcy or Divorce?

The answer, like many things in law, is: It depends on your unique situation. Here are some possible scenarios:

1) You and your spouse qualify for Chapter 7 together.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the shorter bankruptcy, typically lasting between four and six months. It generally leaves a couple debt free (except for certain debts such as student loans). If you qualify for Chapter 7 with your combined income, consider filing for bankruptcy before petitioning for divorce. Here's why:

  • You will not have to fight over your debt during your divorce.
  • You will save money by working with one attorney now rather than two later.
  • You will save money by splitting the filling fee.

Learn more about Chapter 7 here.

2) You and your spouse do not qualify for Chapter 7.

If you and your spouse would have to file for Chapter 13 together, it might make more sense to file for divorce first. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves creating a repayment plan to pay back your loans over a three- or five-year waiting period. This would put your divorce on hold for more time than you might be willing to wait. Furthermore, some people who don't qualify for Chapter 7 jointly may qualify for it on one income.

3) You don't trust your spouse.

No matter what bankruptcy you can file, if you do not believe you will be able to trust your spouse to disclose assets, provide needed information to the court or otherwise cooperate during the bankruptcy case, divorce first might be your best option. After your divorce, you will be in control of your bankruptcy case. It will center around your finances rather than your combined assets.

To learn more about the bankruptcy and divorce processes and discuss the best option for you, please contact the Law Office of Tod J. Beavers, P.C., for a free initial consultation.

Disclaimer: We are a debt-relief agency. We can help you file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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309 Court Avenue, Suite 201
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 515-875-4812
Fax: 515-875-4813
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