When you and your spouse struggle to make ends meet for long periods of time, the stress you experience may take a toll on your relationship as well as on your bank account. 

If you decide that your marital troubles are severe enough to warrant a divorce and your financial troubles severe enough to warrant a bankruptcy, you will need to decide which to deal with first. 

Two types of bankruptcy plans

For starters, you should know that you may have the opportunity to choose between two types of bankruptcy plans, as explained by Experian. One plan, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eliminates debts generally within a matter of months. Some assets, like your home, may be repossessed during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

A Chapter 13 plan, on the other hand, involves no repossession but repackages debt in a repayment plan that lasts for at least three years or for as long as five years. Few couples on the brink of divorce generally want to stay connected through a bankruptcy plan for this long. 

The nature of your debts and assets largely determine which type of bankruptcy may benefit you the most. 

Reducing marital debt prior to divorce

If you and your spouse agree that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy fits your situation, you may reduce your joint debt prior to divorcing which, in turn, may simplify some of your divorce negotiations. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to help spouses in Massachusetts understand the factors they should evaluate to determine when to file for divorce relative to when they may file for bankruptcy protection.