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4295 Buford Drive, Suite B1
Buford, GA 30518
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Call us today at 678-541-6770 for a free consultation

 

We are conveniently located close to the Mall of Georgia on Buford Drive(GA Hwy 20).
 

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Marriage and Bankruptcy

Recently, I’ve had a couple of clients come in who are about to get married and who were considering filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The question they asked is: “Should they file bankruptcy before they got married or wait until afterward”.  In a lot of cases, it makes sense that a person would file a Chapter 7 before getting married.

Here are some issues to consider.

 

First, getting married to a person who has a lot of debt can be frustrating to your spouse and to your marriage. While Georgia is not a community property state and your future spouse cannot be held liable for your debts, your debts will most certain affect the marriage. Starting a marriage with financial issues can only lead to trouble down the road. Creditors will call and try and collect money from you and you may even get sued. Plus, if you plan on opening joint checking accounts, any joint account is subject to levy if there is a judgment against you for your debt regardless of whether or not the debt was pre-marriage or not.

 

Second, there are income limitations on who may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Currently, the income limitation for a household of 1 is around $39,384 per year, so if you are a single person and make less that 39K a year, you would qualify for a Chapter 7. BUT, if you are married, your spouse’s income is taken into consideration even if he/she is not filing with you. So for example, if you make 39K a year and your spouse makes 39K per year, the household income would be 78K per year. The income limitation for a household of 2 persons is around $52,024 per year. In this example, it would be better to file before the marriage.

 

Of course, there may be times when it makes sense to wait and file until after the marriage. An example of this would be if both spouses intend to file and your joint income would not be over the income limitations of who can file a Chapter 7 case.

 

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, please call my office at 678-541-6770 or 404-378-0600 for a free consultation.

Ken Parker