Many couples in California find that finances are often at the root of their disagreements. In some marriages, financial challenges may be so extreme that they even contribute to the eventual end of the marriage. Anyone who is facing both a divorce and a serious debt problem at the same time may be considering filing for bankruptcy. Before this is done, it is important to understand how to decide when to pursue each of these major events.

As explained by My Horizon Today, one of the first things a couple or an individual should assess is what type of bankruptcy might be right for their situation. There are distinct differences between a Chapter 7 plan and a Chapter 13 plan. If a couple does not own a home and most of their debt is unsecured, such as credit card debt, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be appropriate for them as they may lose any assets.

Couples with homes and other assets that they want to protect might need to think more carefully about filing for Chapter 13 protection. It is important to know, however, that this type of bankruptcy lasts for a minimum of three years and up to five years. Filing for this plan may keep spouses linked together longer than they want to be. 

Bankrate also cautions people to investigate their ability to include debts in a bankruptcy subsequent to a divorce if those debts were assigned to one party as part of the divorce decree. This decree is a legal judgment and may impact their future bankruptcy options.