How does a divorce affect an uncompleted Chapter 13?

UPDATED: Jun 1, 2015

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How does a divorce affect an uncompleted Chapter 13?

Asked on June 1, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Getting a divorce during Chapter 13 bankruptcy can make it harder to complete your repayment plan, however it doesn’t mean that your case must be dismissed. If you want to continue with your bankruptcy and obtain a discharge, you have options.

Even if you get divorced during your Chapter 13, you can still continue making your regular plan payments, however you must be able to work out how to divide the payments with your ex. In addition, the financial burden of divorce and maintaining 2 separate households may not allow for you to afford regular plan payments.

Additionally, if you did not originally qualify for a Chapter 7 due to having too much disposable income, with the increased expenses resulting from  divorce and maintaing separate households, you may now be able to convert your case to a Chapter 7, if in fact that will be in your best interests.

If you don’t want to (or can't) convert your bankruptcy to a Chapter 7, you may be able to have your Chapter 13 payments reduced since your budget now includes expenses for both households, so there will not be as much disposable income to pay into the plan.

Finally, if you don’t want to be in the same bankruptcy as your ex-spouse, you can petition the court to "bifurcate" your case into 2 separate bankruptcies. Once your case is so split, each person can decide whether it’s in their best interest to convert to Chapter 7 or remain in a Chapter 13.

At this point, you should consult directly with a bankruptcy or divorce attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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