Bankruptcy And Wedding Planning — How To Keep Effects Positive On Both Sides

For anyone struggling with debt, the idea of getting married is both exciting and daunting. Bankruptcy can help relieve you or your partner of debt anxiety and harassment. But will it impact your wedding? These two life events may have an effect on one another. How? Here are a few things to know about an open bankruptcy case and your wedding. 

1. Wedding Costs Can Be a Problem

With the average wedding costing $30,000 in 2022, it's easy to see why wedding expenses could create a challenge for your bankruptcy. The key factor is whether or not the trustee would find them to be luxury spending or reasonable living costs.

An exorbitant wedding may even be construed as intentional fraud if you seek the discharge of related debts. However, the trustee won't expect a couple to avoid spending amounts that are reasonable for their situation. You and your attorney can work together to find this balance. 

2. Your Chapter 13 Payment May Change

Once you and your partner become spouses, you may become a household for legal and bankruptcy purposes. The biggest effect of this is usually for individuals claiming Chapter 13, or wage earners, bankruptcy. The reason is that you must pay a reasonable, agreed-upon monthly payment on past debt for a period of time. Then, you can receive a discharge on remaining eligible debts. 

Your payment amount is based on your income and expenses. Therefore, it may be adjusted to account for your new spouse's income and expenses as well. If you now have more household disposable income, your payment may rise. But if you have more expenses, you may even see it fall. 

3. Chapter 7 Might Be the Best Route

Perhaps the easiest route to coordinate bankruptcy and wedding planning is Chapter 7, or liquidation, bankruptcy. Simple cases can often be completed before the wedding day arrives. And because it focuses on your assets and debts on the day of filing, post-filing life changes (like a marriage) have much less impact. While it will make credit less available for the wedding, it also protects future community property assets. 

Where to Learn More

Although many experts recommend that you not tackle both wedding planning and bankruptcy at the same time, it's sometimes the best choice. Find out how to keep the negative impacts of both as minimal as possible. Meet with a bankruptcy lawyer in your state today to learn more.