Does Bankruptcy Affect Alimony or Child Support?

Here’s a question I’ve been recently asked by a client. Will a bankruptcy affect alimony or child support? Well, that’s a double question. Actually, it’s four parts.

 

Bankruptcy and child support or alimony

First, if you have to pay child support or alimony, a bankruptcy does not help you. You must still pay any court order for child support or alimony. Alimony may be called spousal maintenance or alimony, depending on how you want to think about it. That’s money for your spouse. It’s been ordered by a court, whether it’s a family court or through a divorce. A bankruptcy does not eliminate that responsibility.

Next, if you have to pay child support, you are the noncustodial parent, and the child lives with another parent. That’s who’s called the custodial parent. And there’s a family court order or a divorce court order requiring you to pay child support for the minor. You still have to pay that amount of money even if you file a bankruptcy. A bankruptcy does not eliminate socalled domestic support obligations, which are child support or spousal maintenance.

 

If you’re the recipient of child support

Now, let’s look at it the other way. What if you are the beneficiary or recipient of money from child support? Any money you’re entitled to under child support is money the other person owes you. You’re entitled to that money. The bankruptcy court normally will not touch that money because that’s listed in your schedules of income.

It’s money coming to you on a monthly basis. You’re allowed to receive money on a monthly basis in a bankruptcy up to a certain level. That needs to be discussed with your lawyer to make sure the amount you’re receiving plus your other income is not above a certain level.

 

If you get alimony

Next, there’s spousal maintenance or alimony. If you’re receiving spousal maintenance or alimony, and you file a bankruptcy, you are still entitled to receive that money. That obligation is still money that’s due to you from the other party. The bankruptcy court will not take that money. The creditors will not take that money.

But once again, it must be listed in the schedule of income and expenses within your bankruptcy. And your income must be below a certain level, and it must be money you get  from child support, spousal maintenance, working or any other source of income.

That’s all added up in the income portion of the bankruptcy petition. As long as you’re below a certain level, and that level depends on how many dependents you have, you can keep all that money even though you file bankruptcy.

 

What happens after a bankruptcy

And after a bankruptcy, if you have back child support money you owe or back spousal maintenance you owe, you still owe that money. And if you’re going to receive that money, you’re still entitled to receive that money. A bankruptcy petition does not normally impact any domestic support obligation, whether you’re paying it or you’re receiving it.

 

If you have questions

If you have any questions, feel free to call me. I’ll be happy to talk to you about it. And by the way, I also do family court and matrimonial court cases and have been doing them for many years. So I have experience both in the bankruptcy sector and the family court and divorce court process. Feel free to call me. I’ll be happy to talk.