Deciding whether you should file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce depends on quite a few things, including how much debt and assets you share, which state you live in, and which chapter of bankruptcy you should file. Here are a few issues you must consider before making your assessment. The filing fees for a bankruptcy are the same whether you file together or separately. Therefore you can save on bankruptcy court fees if you file a joint bankruptcy with your spouse before you get a divorce.
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you may get rid of most of your unsecured debts such as credit card and medical bills. In view of the fact that you can receive a discharge of your debts in a few months, your bankruptcy will be quickly completed before a divorce. But if you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will take anywhere from 3-5 years to complete since you must repay some or all of your debts through a repayment plan. In this case, it would possibly be better to file for bankruptcy as an individual after the divorce because of the length of time necessary to complete a Chapter 13 payment plan.
One important point to consider concerning a Chapter 7 filing is that if you file jointly with your spouse both your incomes must be included in the bankruptcy. But if your joint income is too high, you might not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.