Divorce & Bankruptcy Questions – August 2016 Interview

Katherine: Hello everyone. Attorney Peter Daigle is here with us once again and we’re talking about bankruptcy matters. Last month, we had the opportunity to talk about a scenario dealing with elderly people that he commonly comes in contact with as an issue when it comes to bankruptcy, how they deal with that. Today, we’re going to talk about a different topic in bankruptcy and how he helps his clients get through that. Welcome back to This Needs To Be Said. Peter, how are you?
Peter Daigle: Great Katherine. Thanks for asking and thanks for having me on the show.
Katherine: Awesome. Thank you for being here. What’s our topic for today?
Peter Daigle: Well, we’re going through some common scenarios of folks that come to visit us, things or occurrences in their life that cause them to file bankruptcy. Last time, we spoke about elderly folks, which is a result of them not being able to work as much any longer or losing a spouse, having to visit us for bankruptcy. The second group of folks that come to use frequently are people that are getting divorced. What generally happens is when you’ve got two parents working, kids, they’re living thin as it is. Then all of a sudden, there’s a divorce and now one spouse has to move out, gets their own house, they’ve got to pay child support. Then they also have to have a home for the children when they do visit.
It puts a considerable strain on finances that may already have been strained prior to the divorce even. A lot of times they come to us and that there’s just not enough coming in to meet their obligations to their former spouse and children and living their life and pay those credit cards or taxes or student loans, or whatever else they’ve got, they accumulated from the marriage. They are, a lot of times, a good candidate for bankruptcy.
Katherine: If someone is going through a divorce, and we’ve asked these questions when we did our Q & As before, how those divorce … I don’t know if we’ve actually asked that question, but we’ve asked, does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me when I file? In this event, we’re going through a divorce, have you gotten people, I’m just curious at this point, have you gotten people that were going through the divorce together and then they were getting a divorce almost simultaneously?
Peter Daigle: That’s a good question. What happens a lot of times is we get a lot of referrals from divorce attorneys who sizes up the family finances and say, this just isn’t going to be a successful divorce because you both are carrying so much debt here. A lot of times we do the bankruptcy prior to the divorce being final. That they both come to us husband and wife even though they’re separated and we file it as a joint petition. Then when they do the separation agreement and the final divorce agreement, there’s no debt to carve up. The debt has been discharged prior to that.
The second time they would come to us is after the divorce is final and they realize they can’t make ends meet. No matter how hard they work, they can’t meet all those obligations that I just talked about a minute ago. They would come to us again. Also, bankruptcy does allow you to discharge certain obligations that you owe your former spouse. It also relieves obligations if there’s a property settlement. For instance, if one spouse has to sell the house and give the other spouse some money, bankruptcy can discharge that obligation. It doesn’t discharge maintenance support, but does discharge property obligations. It has a number of benefits for both folks that are actually going through it and on the other side of the divorce also.
Katherine: Okay. I think that could get sticky because we’re already going through a bankruptcy and now we’re splitting up. Them coming to you, definitely we’ve learned through many conversations with you, them coming to you is going to help them, but this just sounds like adding injury to insult. I’m going through a divorce and now I can’t afford to maintain myself without this person here financially. It just piles up. Do you deal with a lot of people breaking down crying in your office because I would imagine you do.
Peter Daigle: All the time. We have boxes of tissue everywhere, yeah. It happens all the time.
Katherine: Oh, okay.
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Peter Daigle: Because this is overwhelming.
Katherine: It is.
Peter Daigle: A lot of the folks that come to us anyway have got other … They’ve got a myriad of problems. Marital problems, financial problems. Unfortunately sometimes it’s alcohol or other substance abuse that they’ve got. Health problems are another one. They’re not able to work as much as they used to be able to.
Katherine: Wow, wow. In situations like that, I know you’ve talked a little bit about it, but I want to be a little more direct with it, in situations like that it seems hopeless, so is this a chapter 7 situation or chapter 13 situation?
Peter Daigle: Well, most of the time it’s chapter 7 because they’re just looking to shed debt. Other times, if one of the spouse who’s left with the marital home and they kids and aren’t able to keep up with the mortgage payments, they got behind, then chapter 13 would allow them to play catch up on some of those old payments, so I know of utmost importance, usually both the spouse or the children and the ex, the children have a place to live. Sometimes chapter 13 can be used to save the family home, especially if there’s leans on it or they’re behind on the mortgage.
Katherine: Okay. Yeah, I would imagine. I have never been married, so I’ve never been divorced. I’ve not had to deal with these things, but I could imagine that this is tough for people. Once they go through these processes, how many of those people come back to you because you’ve talked to us about them being able to repair their credit because this has to be damaging. So much is happening financially. Do they come back to you for the follow-up or are these the kind of situations where you just help the person get some relief and they go on from there?
Peter Daigle: Well, no. We give them a menu of options of the things that we can do. That being, eliminate the debt and rebuilding the credit. We counsel them when they first come in. If they’re looking for us to follow them along post-bankruptcy and assist them in rebuilding their credit, that’s something that we do or they can hire us afterwards. It’s made available to them immediately.
Katherine: Wow. Good, good, good. There is hope. You also have a book that you share with us each time that you’re on the show that people can pick up a copy of.
Peter Daigle: Yes, thank you.
Katherine: I want you to talk about that book and also tell people how they can call you because this right here, I haven’t even been asking anybody to call in and ask a question because my chest is hurting. I am so serious here. My chest is hurting thinking about this because you put yourself together. This has been like sharing a room with a sibling. You put yourself together. You built a life. Somewhere it says the end before the ‘death do us part.’ How do people get in touch with you so they can ask their own questions of you off air?
Peter Daigle: Sure Katherine. My telephone number is 508-771-7444 and they can also reach me through a web inquiry or order a book from my website, which is http://daiglelawoffice.com From Daiglelawoffice.com, there’s a live chat. There’s also some questions can be emailed or you can also order a copy of the book online.
Katherine: Okay. Thank you. Peter, until next month, thank you so much for being a part of This Needs To Be Said.
Peter Daigle: Sure. Great, Katherine. Talk to you soon. Bye, bye.
Katherine: Bye, bye.
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