Divorce And Bankruptcy In Missouri: Tips To Keep In Mind

Going through a divorce is undoubtedly a challenging process, and when coupled with the need to file for bankruptcy, it can make things even more difficult. However, it is not an uncommon situation, and understanding the rules and regulations surrounding divorce and bankruptcy in Missouri can greatly impact your experience. In this article, we will explore a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself facing these two complex issues simultaneously.

Divorce and Bankruptcy: Understanding the Distinctions

First and foremost, it is crucial to recognize that divorce and bankruptcy are two separate legal procedures, each with its own distinctive rules, regulations, and considerations. While they can certainly influence each other in various ways, it is important to note that one does not automatically lead to the other. In simpler terms, filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that a divorce is unavoidable, and filing for divorce does not automatically necessitate filing for bankruptcy.

Timing is Everything

When dealing with divorce and bankruptcy, timing becomes a critical factor. The order in which these two legal actions are pursued can significantly impact their outcomes. In general, filing for bankruptcy before filing for divorce is advisable. This is primarily because filing for bankruptcy initiates a stay on any debts and legal actions against you, allowing you sufficient time to organize your finances and potentially avoid dividing assets that may no longer exist. Furthermore, filing for bankruptcy prior to divorce can facilitate the property division process, as the bankruptcy trustee will have a clearer understanding of which assets are exempt from being divided.

The Interplay between Bankruptcy and Property Division

It is crucial to keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy has the potential to influence how the division of property occurs during divorce proceedings. In bankruptcy, certain assets may be considered exempt from liquidation or seizure by creditors, commonly referred to as exempt assets. Exempt assets in Missouri may include personal property, retirement accounts, and equity in a primary residence. However, it is important to note that these exemptions do not always apply in divorce proceedings.

During the property division process in divorce, the court takes several factors into account, including the financial situations of each party and their contributions to the marriage. Additionally, some assets that may be exempt in bankruptcy could still be subject to division during divorce. This means that even if you declare bankruptcy, you may still be required to divide certain assets as part of the divorce proceedings, which ultimately affects your overall financial situation.

Seek Professional Guidance

Navigating the complexities and emotional challenges of divorce and bankruptcy necessitates seeking advice from professionals. Consulting with both a bankruptcy attorney and a divorce attorney can provide valuable insights into your legal options and the potential impact on your financial well-being. Furthermore, working with a financial planner or counselor can offer invaluable assistance in terms of managing your finances and emotions during this difficult period.


Facing divorce and bankruptcy concurrently is undeniably overwhelming. However, it is vital to recognize that these are distinct legal actions, and with careful planning and consideration of the tips discussed in this article, you can successfully navigate both. Remember to consult with professionals, take your time to understand your options, and prioritize your emotional and financial well-being. By doing so, you can significantly reduce the stress and strife associated with this complicated process.

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