If you’ve recently decided to tie the knot, the last thing you may want to think about is money problems and piles of bills. However, it is vital for couples to discuss financial struggles before getting married, especially if one of them is dealing with overwhelming debt.
Bankruptcy can allow you to eliminate all or part of your debt to help you get a fresh start in this new chapter of your life, but there are a few things to consider before deciding if you should file before or after your wedding.
Filing for Bankruptcy Before Getting Married
If you file for bankruptcy before getting married, your bankruptcy case will be treated specifically for your situation (not your fiance’s). Many individuals apply for Chapter 7 bankruptcy since it removes debt in as little as three to four months. Although Chapter 7 doesn’t eliminate all types of debt, it will erase credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, and more. It can allow you to enter the next stage of your married life without debts, lawsuits, or wage garnishments.
Chapter 13 is another bankruptcy option that allows you to reorganize your debt and eliminate it in three to five years. Although this process is long and will carry over to you in your married life, it will help you keep some of the assets you would lose with Chapter 7 bankruptcy (such as your car or house).
File for Bankruptcy After Getting Married
If you file for bankruptcy after getting married, your spouse’s non-filing wages will also be considered during the “means test analysis.” The means test will determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You need to have the below-average income to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you don’t qualify, Chapter 13 would be your other option.
Whether all of your property or only joint property is part of your bankruptcy depends on whether you live in a common-law state or a community property state. In California, each spouse or partner owns one-half of the community property. And, each spouse or partner is responsible for one-half of the debt.
Can I File an Individual Bankruptcy Case After Getting Married?
Yes, you can file a joint bankruptcy case or you can file without your spouse, even after you get married. If you file a separate bankruptcy after getting married, the bankruptcy would only eliminate the debt you are responsible for.
If you need help achieving financial relief, contact our Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys today at (800) 996-9932 to schedule a case review!