Financial problems can put a substantial strain on a marriage. If you and your spouse are in the midst of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan and now the two of you want a divorce, this complicates your legal financial arrangement. Fortunately, there are good options that can help you continue to pay back your creditors.
The First Step
One of you will need to hire a different attorney to represent you in the bankruptcy process. Your current bankruptcy attorney cannot represent two people with a conflict of interest. Even if your divorce is amicable, you now will have conflicting financial interests. Each of you will want to be sure that you have superb legal counsel to protect your future.
Bankruptcy Completion Options
Divide Your Current Payments With Your Ex
During your divorce proceedings, set up an arrangement for your continued regular Chapter 13 payments. You and your spouse must decide whether you will split these payments equally or if one of you will take on more of the burden. Have your divorce attorneys set this up as a legal agreement so both of you are bound to it.
File a Motion for a Modification
Splitting up a household typically means the formerly married individuals each have less money. This can make it more difficult for you to stick to your original Chapter 13 repayment plan. The court may grant you a modified arrangement so each of you has lower monthly payments.
This is usually a straightforward process in regard to credit cards, student loans and other unsecured debt. However, you may not be able to lower certain payments. Tax debts, child support arrears and mortgage arrears may be completely fixed within the plan.
Petition the Court to Split the Bankruptcy
You may be able to have the court separate your bankruptcy so the two of you are no longer in the same Chapter 13 repayment plan. This can bring you peace of mind if you don't feel comfortable having this area of your finances tied to your ex. Perhaps you worry that he or she will not stick with the plan, leaving you at risk of having the bankruptcy dismissed for nonpayment and aggressive collection activity from your creditors.
You and your spouse should decide which one of you needs to hire a different Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Also decide which of the three options is best for your particular circumstances. From there, you can continue in your quest to pay back your creditors even though your personal situation has changed.
For more information, contact Patton Hoversten & Berg PA or a similar firm.