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QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What happens if my spouse files for BANKRUPTCY in the middle of our DIVORCE?

When a bankruptcy is filed, all lawsuits against the debtor (the person filing the bankruptcy) are required to immediately stop. This is called the "automatic stay." If your spouse files for bankruptcy during your divorce case the automatic stay applies to the divorce case as well.

The divorce Judge may proceed on issues of child support, alimony and custody of children, but may not make any decisions relating to the division of assets and debts without the permission of the bankruptcy court, and any decisions made by the divorce Judge are reviewable by the bankruptcy Judge.

You should consult with an attorney that is familiar with both bankruptcy and divorce law and is admitted to practice in federal court because it may be neceesary to file Motions in the bankruptcy court to ensure that your rights to marital property are protected.

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