Divorce Chapter 7 vs 13
Getting Divorced and Filing Bankruptcy at the Same Time
Which is Better When Going Through a Divorce?
You want do do a divorce and file bankruptcy. But which chapter? Compare the differences for you divorce between chapter 7 vs 13. Generally one chapter will offer a better outcome. Whether you and your spouse are in agreement, or at odds with each other, the differences are important for both of you to know.
This is a complex legal area, and deciding to do a divorce and comparing chapter 7 vs 13 cannot be done without an advanced knowledge of BOTH practice areas. This is not an area for novices. The cost of a mistake here can be devastating.
You Can do Divorce and Chapter 7 or 13
First, do not believe those who say that you cannot do a divorce and bankruptcy at the same time. You can. Whether you should or not is a matter of strategy. It may be more complex, but that’s why you hire a lawyer in the first place, right? Ask if your lawyer does both chapter 7 and 13 and can advise on the differences in the context of divorce. If the attorneys doesn’t practice substantially all the time in chapter 7 and 13, then you might want to ask for a referral.
Legal Fees in Divorce Chapter 7 vs 13
Money is always important, but the cost of a mistake in this area can be much more than the cost of competent counsel. Many people try to save legal fees by using one attorney. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, when it works. The problem will arise if the interests of husband and wife are adverse. One lawyer must “serve two masters” in a joint case. The lawyer will have to withdraw if the interests of his clients differ.
Starting out with one lawyer in an attempt to save money can backfire. When the attorney can no longer represent both, he can then represent neither. He has a conflict. The conflict extends to all attorneys in his firm. Now, instead of paying one lawyer, the couple has to pay three. The original lawyer and the two separate attorneys which the couple will now have to hire.
Unless you are sure you can maintain a good, non-adversarial relationship throughout the entire case, be safe, and hire separate attorneys. As a practice pointer, I regularly recommend that clients see another attorney just for a second opinion even if we all agree that I can represent both parties in a case.
The Non-dischargeable Debt Problem in a Chapter 7
Bankruptcy law prevents the discharge of debts ordered to be paid in connection with a divorce decree or dissolution. Take a look at 11 USC 523 (a) (15). How do you get around this? And, ask yourself, if the debt is not discharged, what do you expect the creditor to do when it is discovered that you filed a chapter 7 and were ordered to pay this debt? This is not an issue in chapter 13.,
For this reason, we routinely, to keep our clients protected from creditors, recommend chapter 13 when a divorce has debts mentioned. Nobody wants to see the benefits of a bankruptcy discharge ruined because their attorney missed this in the divorce chapter 7 vs 13 analysis.
When you’re considering the differences between chapter 7 vs 13 in divorce, be aware that there are many differences. There are many pitfalls and traps for the inexperienced attorney and their clients. When your future finances are at stake, you should consult a board certified bankruptcy specialist. For many years, I have advised other attorneys on these matters.
When you want an opinion and counsel you can rely on, call West Law Office for a free consultation.
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