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Deciding whether bankruptcy or divorce comes first

Bankruptcy and divorce are two of the most emotionally charged events Texas residents ever face. If it looks like they are both on the horizon, there are steps you can take that help each process go as smoothly as possible. We often represent clients starting the bankruptcy process.

According to Experian, it is unlikely that proceedings for bankruptcy can be in motion at the same time as a divorce. Juggling legal actions can complicate the situation and if you filed for bankruptcy first, you must complete the process before determining a realistic settlement.

Which process comes first?

Whether bankruptcy or divorce comes first depends on the situation. If the split is amicable, declaring bankruptcy first may be the better option, especially if you both plan to file. You can share attorney fees and can potentially avoid paying joint debt if you own property together.

Which debts are not included?

Regardless of whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, bankruptcy cannot “forgive” all debts. Common nonchargeable financial obligations include the following:

  • Child support
  • Fines owed to government agencies
  • Court fines and penalties
  • Alimony
  • Student loans
  • Attorney fees for child support or custody cases

The court may deny your debt discharge request if you do not abide by the Bankruptcy Code’s rules. They include but are not limited to providing the requested tax documents, following court orders and completing a mandatory credit counseling course.

Bankruptcy offers a fresh start to people who have gotten in over their heads, often through no fault of their own. If you have significant medical debt or have become unemployed or underemployed, bankruptcy can help you move forward financially.


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