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Bankruptcy and Divorce

Bankruptcy and Family Law issues often go hand in hand.  Financial difficulties can often result in divorce and vice versa.  Keeping that in mind, it is important to be aware of the numerous ways in which your or your spouse’s bankruptcy can potentially affect your or your spouse’s ability to pursue and obtain a divorce.

The automatic stay is one of the fundamental debtor protections provided by bankruptcy laws.  It gives the debtor a breathing spell from his or her creditors.  It stops all collection efforts, all harassment, and all foreclosure actions.  The stay, which becomes effective instantly at the time of the filing of a bankruptcy petition, is intended to immediately put the debtor and the debtor’s property under the protection of the bankruptcy court.

The stay bars the commencement or continuation of any judicial, administrative or other action against the debtor that was or could have been commenced before the commencement of the bankruptcy case or to recover a claim against the debtor that arose before the bankruptcy case.  Any civil action arising out of circumstances that existed prior to the commencement of the bankruptcy case is prohibited.

As you can see, the scope of the automatic stay is very wide.  Due to the extremely wide scope of the stay, it extends to most family-related proceedings and can have a dramatic effect on these proceedings.  In particular, divorce proceedings can be impacted greatly by the stay.  A pending divorce case is automatically stayed upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

The automatic stay also stays any judicial proceeding, including divorce, that could have been commenced against the debtor prior to the commencement of the bankruptcy case.  Since usually the spouse initiating a divorce petition could have done so earlier, before the petition was filed, the stay would bar the initiation of a divorce against the debtor in such cases after the filing of the bankruptcy case.  There are certain exceptions to these rules, however, so it is important that you consult with a divorce or bankruptcy attorney to determine whether they apply in your case.

In summary, the decision to file for divorce or bankruptcy is one that must be carefully reviewed and planned.  It is recommended that you seek a consultation with a lawyer specializing in these fields of law.  You may call Sadek Law Offices, LLC to set up your initial consultation regarding the intersection of bankruptcy law and family law.

If there are any general questions or topics you would like to read about relating to bankruptcy or divorce law  in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region, you may contact the Philadelphia Lawyers at Sadek Law Offices, LLC at 215-545-0008  or (877) 4-LAW-411 or email .  Thank you.