My ex lapsed on alimony payments for several years. I finally got a court order for him to pay me the arrears in smaller payments. He's been complying for several months. But I just got a notice that he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. My understanding is that alimony is nondischargeable, but I'm concerned by some of the wording of the notice, and the implication that I need to file a complaint. This is a substantial debt, or I wouldn't bother, but I spent so much money for the lawyer to pursue the original judgment, I can't afford to keep hiring lawyers!
Is he allowed to discharge alimony arrears that are under court order?
I am in Massachusetts, he filed in Rhode Island. Thank you!
Alimony or spousal support and child support are not dischargeable in any chapter in bankruptcy. I don't think you need to file a proof of claim. Property division or distribution judgments are dischargeable in a ch13. You would need to file a proof of claim for the equitable division claim in a 13 but not in a 7.
DISCLAIMER: This message is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. No attorney-client relationship is created by this message. Do not act or rely upon law-related information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant area. I am a Federally Designated Debt Relief Agency under the United States Bankruptcy Code. I proudly help people in financial need file bankruptcy cases. IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (or in any attachment) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication (or in any attachment).
Your ex still owes the alimony to you despite the bankruptcy filing. Hopefully, now that he is getting rid of other debt, he will be better able to make the payments he is required to make to you. in most Ch 7's there is no need to file a claim. If the trustee finds assets that can be sold and funds so generated can be used to pay creditors, you will get a notice to file a claim. Your claim would be a priority claim and likely get funds if an asset is found. Most Ch 7's are "no asset" cases where there are no funds available to pay creditors.
Nothing in this response creates an attorney-client relationship. The answer is provided as general information and cannot be relied on due to the many factors that can impact any situation when all of the relevant facts may not have been included.
Alimony is not dischargable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some creditors need to file an adversary proceeding to prove that debts should be categorized as non-dischargable.
I recommend sitting down with a local bankruptcy attorney just to be sure you understand your rights here. You likely do not need to file anything unless there is an asset notice filed in the case. This means the trustee found assets to pay to creditors. This would help you get paid some of the money you are owed. If it is a traditional case, you just need to wait until his discharge to proceed with collecting against him.
Answers and comments provided here are only for general discussion. My comments are not to be considered legal advice and they do not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult the attorney of your choice concerning the details of your situation.
Once the Chapter 7 case is closed you will be permitted to return to the Probate/Family Court to seek an order of contempt and compel compliance of the order if he is not making the alimony payments.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline