Surf City Lawyers - February 2019

714-533-9210 FEBRUARY 2019


It might not be immediately obvious, but bankruptcy and love have a lot in common. In some cases, financial hardships can be a catalyst for divorce. For others, declaring bankruptcy can revive lost love. What I witness most commonly is bankruptcy setting people up for love. Millennials are getting married later, and some are declining the possibility of lifetime partnership because of finances. Clients come to me on a regular basis who want to get married but their future spouse doesn’t want to take on a mound of student loan debt. Some may find it surprising to hear that I was once in the same position. I had to be a client of my own service before I was remarried in 2014. Going through this process granted me a new perspective. Like many of you, I needed to prepare my finances for the future and the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is a sacred institution that should be revered, and for me, there was no greater way to show my love and commitment than to ensure I was financially prepared. Nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and depending on the study you reference, money is among the most common reasons why people divorce. Financial problems severely complicate relationships and require partners to make significant changes to their spending habits. Often, those adjustments are ones people aren’t ready to make. LOVE AND MONEY How Bankruptcy Can Help You Find Both

bankruptcy before divorce find themselves working together financially like never

before. The longer partners have been together, the more likely their relationship is strong,

and in some cases, they work through it. In other instances, spouses have been hiding money from each other or not making decisions jointly, and that only exacerbates the issue. I recommend anyone with financial problems to go to their spouse sooner rather than later and have a frank discussion.

It’s no secret that communication is necessary to overcome financial obstacles, but many people don’t know where to start. “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking

When Stakes Are High” is a wonderful book for those who want a communication model to follow. It helps provide structure to discussions that otherwise can become derailed due to pain points. A marriage retreat also offers a good opportunity to open up dialogue. Spenders can understand limits, and savers can come up with a spending strategy. Nothing says “I love you” like sticking to a budget. The cost of a college degree varies from state to state but is anywhere between $25,000–$33,000. That’s just the average. The price of getting an education has tripled since I graduated, and housing is unaffordable. A young person with student loan debt who is making minimum wage will be burdened for a lifetime, and people don’t want to take on their partner’s burden after the wedding day. For many, filing for bankruptcy is the only way to break free from a system that’s killing the American dream. Don’t let your love be hindered by dollar signs. Work out your financial differences ahead of time, and if bankruptcy is part of that conversation, give me a call. I want to help.

“Nothing says ‘I love you’ like sticking to a budget.”

Unfortunately, plenty of couples struggle with this problem and decide divorce is the only option for their futures. One of the most common questions I’m asked is whether one should file for bankruptcy before or after divorcing their spouse. Ultimately, that depends on the couple. In some cases, the couples who tackle

–Christine Kingston

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