Does Bankruptcy Eliminate Child Support & Alimony?

What happens to a child or spousal support obligation if it becomes necessary to file for bankruptcy? Some might not like the answer to this, but all that matters is fairness under the law – whether it’s bankruptcy law, divorce law, or any kind of niche out there.

Many people have a few misconceptions of just what bankruptcy can do for a person. It is, contrary to popular belief, not necessarily a ‘clean slate’ (although in a position of monumental debt, we’d like it to be). While bankruptcy may eliminate some debts, there are some types of debts and financial obligations that cannot be discharged. These obligations include child support and alimony.

In divorce law, child support and alimony are considered non-dischargeable financial obligations. That means the bankruptcy petition can’t regard that debt as something to be ‘forgiven’ under the law, because it is in a sense an obligation, not a debt. Additionally, arrearage plays no role in bankruptcy except for Chapter 13. That means if you haven’t made a single child support payment in ten years, don’t expect a bankruptcy filing to take care of it.

Bankruptcy will handle credit card debts, possible situations with foreclosure, certain loans and other types of collection not associated with certain legal obligations, such as taxes. Bear in mind this one important clarification, though – in the subject of Chapter 13, understand that you’re not getting ‘forgiven’ for your debts. Rather, the government is doing you a favor in lumping all your debts – including arrearages – into one amount for you to make payment installments.

Consider your options carefully. Just know this: child support is a high priority. There are no loopholes, no exceptions, and certainly no forbearance available.

Questions? We’re Here to Help.

If you have questions about a child or spousal support matter, we invite you to contact Moskowitz Law Group, LLC to request a case review with a New Jersey family law attorney. Fill out our online case evaluation form and we will be in touch with you soon.

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