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Bankruptcy and Divorce

It’s not uncommon for people who are going through a bankruptcy to also have been recently divorced or currently be going through a divorce. There have been many articles written to try to determine the cause of this. Does financial stress cause an economic downturn in the marriage which then leads to the divorce. Does talk of divorce cause any economic downturn which then leads to bankruptcy? Many ex-spouses are concerned with whether child support and alimony will continue to be paid when a bankruptcy is filed. When the debtor files a bankruptcy, many wonder if a divorce settlement is enforceable. Once an ex-spouse files bankruptcy, does child support continue to be paid? Does alimony continue to be paid? If the debtor is behind on both the alimony and the child support, is this a dischargeable in a bankruptcy? These are the many questions that our Montgomery bankruptcy lawyers and Selma bankruptcy attorneys are asked by our clients. At The Sellers Law Firm we make it a point to be very specific with our clients who are either planning on getting divorced and filing a bankruptcy or who are recently divorced or filing a bankruptcy. There are many complicated issues and questions which must be answered before we file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 debt consolidation.

When a debtor files for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 debt consolidation, an automatic stay is issued. The automatic stay should be considered an injunction which has the effect to protecting all assets of the bankruptcy estate. An ex-spouse can be considered a creditor. If you file for a bankruptcy before filing for a divorce, the divorce court cannot come in and divide any property which is in that bankruptcy estate. This would include items such as the family home, all vehicles, retirement accounts, or any other property which the debtor may own. This creates a situation where the family court judge cannot divide any property that is owned individually or jointly by the parties; however, issues such as alimony temporary or permanent child support can move forward. The divorce attorney or attorneys for the parties can ask the bankruptcy court to give it permission to move forward with the divorce and the division of assets.

If the debtor is in a Chapter 7 case, then this will move along fairly quickly since most people are in and out of the Chapter 7 and 4 to 6 months; however, if the debtor is in a Chapter 13 case the divorce may become greatly complicated since the Chapter 13 will last between 3 to 5 years.

What we have seen is that many of our clients file for a bankruptcy immediately after a divorce is finalized. In all honesty, if it's a Chapter 13 case this makes preparing the bankruptcy petition far easier. If in the divorce decree a former spouse is owed money for child support, alimony, attorney fees or Guardian Ad Litem fees, then these present significant issues which must be addressed by the bankruptcy court. You cannot discharge a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Debts that are considered part of a QDRO are non-dischargeable by law. We understand that this can be confusing, so give us a call to help explain this in more detail. All consultations are free, and we can usually meet with you in 24 hours. Our phone lines are answered 24 hours a day so call or text us now at 334-LAWYERS (529-93770). Act now because doing nothing changes nothing!

We must next look at any unsecured debts that were jointly held together by the ex-spouses. The debtor may be able to discharge any jointly-held debt that the parties had. The debtor will always be able to discharge any individual debt that he had regardless of what the language of the divorce judgment is; however, you should seek an experienced Montgomery bankruptcy attorney to determine your rights. You should also discuss this with your divorce attorney. It is possible that if you discharge a joint debt and your ex-spouse then becomes responsible for that debt, then that ex-spouse may be able to take you back to family court and ask that you be held in contempt of court. Many divorce decrees state that all debts contained within the divorce decree are non-dischargeable. There are no hard-and-fast answers when dealing with a divorce. Back due alimony, back due child support, and any debts owed through a QDRO can be added into a Chapter 13 debt consolidation and paid over a period of three to five years.

To be honest, in the confines of limited available space of a website page, it is impossible for us to answer all the questions that can arise when facing the issues of bankruptcy and divorce. This is why we advise people to come set an appointment and meet with our team of experienced Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys and Selma bankruptcy attorneys and discuss the complicated issues of bankruptcy and divorce.

At The Sellers Law Firm, we are here to help you. All consultations are free, and we can usually meet with you within 24 hours. Our phone lines are answered 24 hours a day! We have offices in Montgomery, Selma, Greenville, and Troy. Call or text us at 334-LAWYERS (529-9377) and set an appointment to discuss your options. You may also use the Contact Form on our website. You may also email us at Remember that doing nothing changes nothing so act today!

The Sellers Law Firm is designated a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress and the President of the United States. We have proudly assisted people seeking relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for four decades.

Client Reviews
Brandon was my first choice for an attorney because he is part of the community and you see him at the local store or PTA meetings and he always has time for you and answer your concerns. Ronica Phifer
The Sellers Law Firm represented me in my social security case, and later in my Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I have been very happy with all that you have done for me, and I refer people to you all the time. Thanks for all that you have done for me and my family. Angie Langford
I would like to start out by saying Brandon sellers is more than a lawyer that has helped my family out in numerous occasions but he's also a great friend to our family. Whenever he can't find a resolution for the problem he always recommends somebody that can. I've known him for years grew up together always been really good friends. I like to say in closing I'm really glad I know him I'm glad he's been able to help us when we've needed him. Thanks for everything you've done. Timothy Palmer
The sellers law firm is the best in Alabama they are friendly and very professional from the attorneys to the people in the office. They where very helpful throughout the whole process and even after it was over. So if you are in need for a bankruptcy firm give Brandon sellers a call you won't be disappointed Thank you Again Brian Floyd
I highly recommend Sellers Law Firm, they are fantastic and care about their clients. They walk you through step by step and advise you of your options. Sheila Wright