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Bankruptcy and divorce in Pennsylvania: part one

Divorce may occur on virtually any terms and for a number of reasons. For quite a long time, finances have been a leading cause of divorce

If you are considering or undergoing a divorce and are also contemplating bankruptcy, it is important to understand how the process will affect the divorce. The stage at which parties file for bankruptcy determines its effect on the divorce proceedings and outcome.


Filing for bankruptcy before filing for divorce creates a unique situation. Once a bankruptcy plan is in place, a divorce is one of the few life instances that require changes in the process. The greatest change is that the level of income that initially founded the bankruptcy will decrease. Additional factors, such as child or spousal support, may also affect the payment amounts. The marital settlement agreement must detail the new payment amount and the means for paying the bankruptcy trustee, and the bankruptcy court must approve it.


In order for individuals to file for bankruptcy during a divorce, the parties must first receive permission from the bankruptcy trustee. If approved, the bankruptcy will take precedent, seeing as the process will affect the number of assets the couple has. Though bankruptcy court supersedes divorce proceedings, that does not mean that individuals do not need to be aware of marital property rights and division according to Pennsylvania law. In fact, this is a key aspect to consider, especially for those individuals who have been married for a long time and who may share vast amounts of property. In such cases, filing a joint bankruptcy may prove to be beneficial.


A bankruptcy filing after divorce may affect any child or spousal support payments. Depending on whether the party is paying or receiving benefits, the decrease in income may be grounds for a modification of payment amounts.

This provides a brief overview of the effects bankruptcy may have on divorce. For clarity on the best option for your situation, speak with a professional.


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Joshua Z. Goldblum, Attorney at Law
Stonewood Office Campus
826 Bustleton Pike Suite 101B
Feasterville, PA 19053

Phone: 215-322-2745
Fax: 215-953-9973
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