Dealing with tough legal challenges can be a stressful experience, especially if you need to take your case to court. However, while through bankruptcy or divorce proceedings is difficult, the silver lining is that it often represents an opportunity for a fresh start, in a number of ways.

It’s not unusual for divorce and bankruptcy to go hand-in-hand. Often, financial troubles can cause a couple to seek a divorce, and getting a divorce may cause financial difficulties for one or both parties. When this happens, you must determine how best to negotiate the unfamiliar waters of divorce and bankruptcy.

If you file for bankruptcy during a divorce, it may slow down the process. Although a California court can make decisions related to custody, child support and alimony during the time a bankruptcy is in process, it cannot decide on property division. If your need to file bankruptcy is separate from the divorce, you may wish to consider waiting until after the divorce is final to move forward.

In situations where you need to pay off debts as part of your divorce, however, you might consider filing for bankruptcy to discharge those debts. This can help you eliminate debts through bankruptcy, but if your former spouse is still on the hook for the debts, he or she might seek repayment from you. Often, courts will require you to pay back your half, and you’ll end up paying the debt either way.

Additionally, you cannot use Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a way to avoid obligations to your former spouse. For instance, if your divorce decree requires that you make payments to your ex-spouse in exchange for property, you generally cannot wipe out these obligations through Chapter 7. However, if you file for Chapter 13, you might be able to include these debts into your payment plan.

If you are facing financial challenges due to divorce, turn to the Max Gardner, a knowledgeable Bakersfield Bankruptcy attorney serving clients in Kern and Inyo Counties, California.

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