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The Effect of Bankruptcy on Spousal Support Agreements and Payments

Posted by attorney Charles Hofheimer

Bankruptcy is one of the events that may come into play when you are going through a divorce. Money and divorce often go hand in hand, and spousal support is often a complicated part of your divorce settlement when one spouse is going through bankruptcy.

You should exercise your right to have a spousal support attorney in Virginia Beach help you deal with the many issues that bankruptcy can create during a divorce settlement. Spousal support payments may be claimed officially in your initial divorce settlement, but that does not mean they are set in stone.

Federal Law Protects Spousal Support from Discharge in Bankruptcy

The federal bankruptcy code states that a domestic support obligation, including both child support and spousal support, is not dischargeable in a bankruptcy case. An attorney in Virginia Beach can help you make sure that your ex-spouse does not attempt to use his bankruptcy as an excuse not to pay you the spousal support you are entitled to in your divorce settlement.

If you are owed spousal support payments from your husband and he files bankruptcy, then you are still entitled to those support payments, regardless of his financial situation. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an ex-husband to try and use his bankruptcy status as an excuse for delayed or missed payments.

In cases such as these, a spousal support attorney in Virginia Beach can help you assert your right to the spousal support agreed upon in your divorce settlement.

The Impact of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on Spousal Support Payments

There are special considerations to be made when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is when you agree to a structured repayment plan to remedy any non-dischargeable debts. This includes spousal support payments. If you fail to comply with your spousal support obligations after filing a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then your bankruptcy case may be dismissed.

When figuring your income, spousal support may be “stayed" – meaning creditors cannot attempt to collect those payments. However, the bankruptcy courts can lift the stay to allow for withholding of the spousal support from the debtor’s income.

It is important that you work with both a bankruptcy attorney and a spousal support attorney in Virginia Beach to make sure that all of your financial situations are being handled properly. Both divorce and bankruptcy can become extremely complicated when it comes to financial situations, and you will want the security of a legal professional to help you protect your rights.

Your Spousal Support Obligations When You File Bankruptcy

If you are the spouse responsible for paying spousal support in a divorce settlement, you also cannot avoid these payments due to bankruptcy. You must be diligent in making your spousal support payments on time and in full to avoid any further legal or financial actions from your divorce settlement or your bankruptcy resolution.

When paying spousal support becomes a serious issue with your finances, you should bring it to the attention of a spousal support attorney in Virginia Beach. Your attorney may be able to suggest some remedies to your financial issues when you owe spousal support, even if you cannot avoid the payments.

When You Seek Spousal Support, an Attorney in Virginia Beach Can Help

Spousal support is a difficult situation to handle, and when you or your ex-spouse is going through bankruptcy it can complicate matters even more. Your ex may try to claim hardship to avoid spousal support, or you may face bankruptcy on your own while having to pay spousal support. In any case, you need a spousal support attorney in Virginia Beach who understands your situation.

At Hofheimer/Ferrebee P.C. we provide family law and divorce support for women only, allowing us to focus on the unique needs of women who find it necessary to undergo legal separation or a complete divorce from their husbands. To schedule a consultation with our attorneys and learn how we can help, contact us today – 1-757-425-5200.

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