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Should you file for bankruptcy before filing for divorce?

If you are a Manassas resident who is contemplating getting divorced, it's important to get your ducks in line before filing the petition in the civil court. Divorce can be an expensive undertaking, but there are ways for the parties to reduce the costs they incur. Read on for some tips from divorce and finance professionals to learn how you can minimize the expenses of your divorce.

Tips for saving money for divorcing couples

  • Work out the details yourselves. While this is not possible on every issue or even for every couple, the more issues that are settled between the two of you, the fewer that must be litigated between opposing counsels in court.
  • Take advice from professionals. It's human nature that as soon as friends and colleagues know that you are divorcing, they dispense all sorts of advice, welcome and otherwise. Remember that you are paying good money for professional legal advice from your family law attorney. It makes good sense to heed it.
  • Close joint accounts. Open new checking and savings accounts in your name only and remove your spouse's name from your credit accounts.
  • Change estate planning documents. Choose another beneficiary for retirement accounts, wills, health care proxies and living wills, powers of attorney and trusts.
  • Switch utilities and post office boxes to your name only.
  • Review joint debts. A divorce will not negate jointly-acquired debts during a marriage, and spouses can be responsible for debts that they didn't even know their husband or wife incurred.

Two dreaded D's — debt and divorce

If you and your spouse are mired in debt, it may be appropriate to delay filing for your divorce for the time being. The two of you could benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection as a married couple.

There are many factors that determine whether a jointly-filed bankruptcy would be in your best interests. As previously stated, you could be on the hook for debts your spouse ran up without your knowledge. If his or her fiscal management is poor, this is something that you should weigh carefully, with input from your financial advisor.

By filing for bankruptcy as a married couple, both of you can be freed from your debt load, and neither will have to worry about getting stuck repaying the other's share of debts if he or she reneges on payment agreements.

Timing is everything

The time of year when you file for divorce can have implications on both spouses' tax statuses. Unless you need to file immediately because of domestic violence incidents, this is another factor to contemplate. Both your family law attorney and financial advisor can review your individual circumstances and offer a knowledgeable opinion on the best time to file for divorce in Manassas.

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Bristle & Yi Law, PLLC
9200 Church Street
Suite 202
Manassas, VA 20110

Phone: 703-278-2027
Phone: 703-454-0701
Fax: 703-649-6368
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