Columbus, OH asked in Bankruptcy and Divorce for Ohio

Q: Do I have to have a finalized divorce before I can file bankruptcy?

I am still legally married. We have lived separately for well over 4 years. I would like to file bankruptcy. I've been told that in order to do so that we both would have to file. He doesn't want to. I need an idea of where to start. Should I start the divorce first or is there a way to do the bankruptcy first?

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4 Lawyer Answers
Stuart Nachbar
Stuart Nachbar
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Livingston, NJ

A: In New Jersey, if you are living separate and apart, then it is possible to file without your spouse. The consideration of deciding whether to divorce first or file first, is a question better suited for an in depth discussion with a matrimonial counsel who is familiar with Bankruptcy in your area.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Clark Dray
Clark Dray
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Broomfield, CO

A: There's no reason your spouse needs to file bankruptcy with you. Even if you were living together, you could file bankruptcy without him.

As to the question of whether you should file the bankruptcy before or after the divorce, opinions vary and you'll want to talk to a local divorce lawyer to see what they think. If you file bankruptcy first, you can take the position in the divorce court that you've already resolved all of your debt in the bankruptcy and that anything that survives should be your husband's sole responsibility. On the other hand, the fact that you're debt free might result in the judge assigning the responsibility for some of your husband's debt on you to equalize things.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Robert L Caplan
Robert L Caplan
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: It is not required that you and your spouse both file a bankruptcy. Bankruptcies are like taxes: You can file married or you can file separate. You also can file a divorce first, and then a bankruptcy. Or vice versa. There is no particular order.

If there are no issues, they both take about four months. There is also a way you can file them both at the same time.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: No. Nor does your spouse have to file. Consult a competent bankruptcy/family attorney to decide what’s best for you.

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