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What if My Spouse Files For Bankruptcy During Our Divorce?

Filing for bankruptcy can be an incredibly stressful process. In addition, a divorce can be a stressful and emotional upheaval. If these two things occur at the same time, you may feel completely overwhelmed. These feelings are normal. It is important to know that filing for bankruptcy during a divorce is something that occurs, and you are not alone. That being said, bankruptcy can make a divorce much more complicated, so it is important to know what to do in the event that your spouse files for bankruptcy during your divorce, and the ways in which you may be affected. Read on to learn more about bankruptcy during a New Jersey divorce.

What Happens When Bankruptcy is Filed During a Pending Divorce?

When dealing with matters of bankruptcy, it is important to understand the concept of the “automatic stay.” When bankruptcy is filed by a spouse, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately. This can assist the debtor during this time, as it prohibits creditors from collection activities as well as puts all other legal proceedings on hold, including a divorce. While this can help the spouse who owes certain debts, it can be an issue for the other spouse. 

How Can Bankruptcy During a Divorce Impact Me?

One of the most notable aspects of a bankruptcy case is dischargeable debts. The debts that are able to be discharged can vary case by case. When bankruptcy is filed during a divorce, there are often similar requests for these cases. This is usually to discharge claims of alimony, child support, or property settlements. Ultimately, it is up to the bankruptcy judge that is in charge of the case to make these decisions. While this is true, there general rules that usually apply in most New Jersey cases, such as:

  • Claims for alimony generally cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding
  • Claims for child support generally cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding
  • Claims for property settlements may generally be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding if the divorce judgment has not been finalized

If your spouse files for bankruptcy during a divorce, you may need the help of an experienced divorce attorney. Contact our firm to speak with a dedicated attorney today. We are here to act as your advocate and walk you through the process each step of the way.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.