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Getting married? Address your debt first

So you're getting married - congratulations! What an exciting time this is in your and your fiancée's lives.

One of the best parts of being married is getting to share in each other's lives completely. But, if one of you has significant debt, this isn't something you want to share. It's in both of your best interests to resolve the debt before you get married.

Money issues are marriage issues

Getting married represents a new chapter in your life together. You want to start it on a good note. It's hard to move forward as a team when one partner is still caught up in issues from the past.

Starting married life together can be stressful, too, even if you lived together before. You don't want to unnecessarily add to that burden. Studies show that money is the leading cause of relationship stress.

Addressing financial issues before you get married will help your relationship be stronger in the long run. This is especially true if the two of you have different habits or values when it comes to money.

Solving debt is harder once you're married

For many people with significant debt, bankruptcy can be the best option. A successful bankruptcy discharges most debts and gives you a chance to start fresh.

Getting married, however, can make it more difficult to qualify for bankruptcy. In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person must pass an income-based "means test." Your spouse's income will count, and may make you ineligible, even if you would have been eligible before marriage.

You may still be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which does require the repayment of part of your debt. Again, your spouse's income will likely count toward the repayment, making the situation less advantageous than if you had completed the bankruptcy before marriage.

Make a plan before the wedding

If you're engaged, or even thinking about getting married someday, have a serious talk with your partner about financial issues. For the sake of your relationship, it is important that the two of you can talk openly and honestly about money, even when it is stressful.

If one or both of you has significant debt, seriously consider resolving the issue before you get married, even if it means delaying the wedding a little bit. If you think bankruptcy might be an option for you, schedule some time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will help you understand your options, and how the law will apply to your own personal situation.

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    Posted by MaryDecember 11, 2015

    "I am overwhelmed by your response to my call, even 10 years after my bankruptcy was discharged. You have more knowledge and expertise than I could have imagined. Because of you, my fears have been put to rest. For that, I'm so very grateful. Thank you many times over. "

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    Posted by ClientOctober 26, 2010

    "... I was extremely impressed with Charles' understanding of the bankruptcy laws to the extent that I felt certain that my best interests were always at the forefront. "

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    Posted by MarleneJanuary 8, 2014

    He helped me thru my 1st bankruptcy and now the second. I had no idea what to expect , but they kept me informed and answered all my questions. Mr. Schneider is the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyer I have ever met. If you have to file call this attorney first!

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