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Debts From Divorce and Bankruptcy

Filing for divorce initiates a complex and expensive legal process. Divorces can be notoriously expensive for many reasons, and one or both parties may be saddled with extensive debt. Financial concerns are among the chief issues in nearly every divorce case. Unfortunately, those concerns may not be resolved during the divorce. If you are struggling with significant debt from your divorce, it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy. Whether you are struggling with joint debt from your marriage, or are dealing with debt related to the divorce process, filing for a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you move forward.

Can I Discharge Alimony or Child Support?

Two of the most common financial burdens for a newly divorce spouse are alimony and child support. Alimony is a (usually monthly) payment to your former spouse, designed to help them transition to financial independence. Child support is a type of payment intended to provide for the welfare of your child. Family court judges consider numerous factors when granting alimony and/or child support. However, once a court order or private agreement is executed, it can be difficult to discharge alimony and child support payments.

Generally, the law does not allow someone to discharge his or her alimony or child support obligations. These financial obligations are given high priority during bankruptcy cases. So, you may only discharge these support payment under extreme circumstances. You may be able to pursue other legal options such as asking the family law judge to recalculate your obligation. No matter what your situation, if you are unable to pay alimony or child support, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Joint Debt After Divorce

California is a community property state, which means that both spouses equally share almost all property acquired during the marriage. Often, both spouses are financially at risk during divorce because of high joint debt. Such debt may take many forms, commonly including:

  • Joint credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Automobile loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Judgment from a lawsuit

Because joint marital debt remains linked to both spouses, it is important to understand how filing for bankruptcy will affect your debt when there is community property involved. Alternatively, you should know how you will be affected if your former spouse files for bankruptcy.

When you file for bankruptcy, you are able to discharge your individual debt. Any joint debt remaining after the divorce may become your former spouse’s liability. In such cases, your family court judge could potentially increase your support payments. If you or your former spouse is considering filing for bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney today. An experienced lawyer can thoroughly explain your options.

Call an Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer in Hayward

At the Law Offices of Melanie Tavare, our dedicated bankruptcy attorneys understand the stress and confusion you are likely facing. We know your divorce may have imposed many financial complications on you, and we are here to help. Regardless of your situation, our attorneys will fully explain all of your legal options. If you or your former spouse is considering filing for bankruptcy, you need the legal guidance of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Contact our Hayward office today, and schedule your free legal consultation now.

The Law Offices of Melanie Tavare are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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