The month of January accounts for more divorces than any other month of the year.
Our Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys know this fact is compounded by what we know about divorce: It almost inevitably causes debt.
In some cases‚ the only way to make a clean break is through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy‚ which will allow you to discharge not only the debts you incurred as result of the actual split‚ but your responsibility with regard to any credit card debt or medical bills racked up by your ex while you were together.
You will still be responsible for alimony payments and child support‚ but many clients find that the ability to walk away from the bigger ticket item affords them the freedom to be able to easily afford these other expenses.
So why January?
The fact is‚ many people try to hold it together for the holidays. For the sake of the kids. For the sake of the family.
Then there is also the consideration that many people have an extra week off work‚ in which to hire a divorce attorney. Plus‚ if they wait until the beginning of the year‚ as opposed to September (the second-biggest month for divorce filings)‚ they can still count on filing a joint tax return for the previous year‚ which tends to allow for a number of tax breaks.
But it’s what happens afterward that leads to debt. Suddenly‚ you’re grappling with the same amount of bills‚ but with half as much income. Then you have to account for the costs associated with filing a divorce‚ including attorneys fees and court costs.
There is a tendency for some people to simply put it on a credit card. That can lead to further headaches.
Then there is another consideration: Just as you may find freedom from the joint debts you accrued with your ex or soon-to-be-ex‚ he or she could choose to file‚ leaving you stuck with those payments. That’s because bankruptcy only releases the person who filed from obligation‚ it does not release anyone else. So unless you choose to file jointly (as some couples do in an impending divorce)‚ you would be on the hook not only for your portion‚ but for your ex-spouse’s as well-meaning your obligation effectively doubles.
It’s worth noting that creditors aren’t generally concerned with divorce agreements either. So even if the divorce agreement makes your spouse responsible for half of that shared debt‚ you may still be stuck paying it. You could always take your ex back to court to force them to pay their share – and sometimes‚ that’s the best course of action. But if they are jobless or suffering their own personal financial crisis‚ that may not yield any tangible results.
That’s not to say your divorce agreement shouldn’t address these issues – they absolutely should.
But you should also recognize that a bankruptcy filing may be the best way to rid yourself of those headaches for good.
If you are considering bankruptcy in Los Angeles‚ contact Nader‚ Naraghi & Woodcock to schedule your free consultation. Call (818) 446-1334.