If my wife files bankruptcy before the divorce, will she receive more money in the settlement?

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If my wife files bankruptcy before the divorce, will she receive more money in the settlement?

Asked on May 15, 2011 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, a bankruptchy will have no direct effect on the distribution of assets and/or support she will get from either a divorce decree or order (if adjudicated by the court) or a settlement. That's because bankrutpcy ONLY affect debts owed by the person filing--not the money owed to him or her by others, such as by a spouse in a divorce. Furthermore, certain kinds of support obligations (e.g. child support) are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, so even if your wife would be paying you (rather than the other way around), it is unlikely the bankruptcy would have any significant impact.

Where there can be an indirect impact is this: the bankruptcy will discharge certain debts. IF as part of the settlement, you would have agreed to take over or pay certain debts for her, if those debts were already eliminated, that would be to your benefit. In addition, in caculating how  much money your wife may need for support, a lower level of debt *may* mean that she needs less support.


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