Child support and alimony are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, back child support and alimony must be paid before any other creditor, including any taxes owed. However, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to work out a repayment plan and allow you to catch up over the course of a 3 to 5 year plan.
There are two exceptions to the general rule associated with bankruptcy and alimony. In the first instance, an ex-spouse may be able to discharge an alimony obligation if the obligation has been assigned to a third party. Alimony is specifically designed to maintain a former spouse’s standard of living and not to be transferred to another person or entity. Secondly, if payments the ex-spouse is making are alimony payments in name only, he or she may be able to obtain a discharge of the obligation in bankruptcy.
In many states, you can request an alimony modification if your financial situation has changed dramatically since the original court order following your divorce.
When filing for bankruptcy, the following debts cannot be discharged. If you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for repaying these debts after your discharge. If you file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, these debts will have to be paid in full in your plan. If they are not, the balance will remain at the end of your case:
Debts you forget to list in your bankruptcy papers, unless the creditor learns of your bankruptcy case
Debts for personal injury or death caused by driving while intoxicated
Student loans, unless it would be an undue hardship for you to repay
Fines and penalties for violating the law, including traffic tickets and criminal restitution
Recent income tax debts and all other tax debts.
The following debts may be declared non-dischargeable by a bankruptcy judge in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if the creditor challenges your request to discharge them:
Debts you incurred on the basis of fraud
Credit purchases of $1,150 or more for luxury goods or services made within 60 days of filing
Loans or cash advances of $1,150 or more taken within 60 days of filing
Debts from willful or malicious injury to another person or another person’s property
Debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of trust
Debts you owe under a divorce decree or settlement unless after bankruptcy you would still not be able to afford to pay them or the benefit you’d receive by the discharge outweighs any detriment to your ex-spouse (who would have to pay them if you discharge them in bankruptcy).
There is a tremendous amount of info on the Internet on this topic. Just google your question and you should come up with more information than I have provided here.
This response is the opinion of the author. It is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice. It is provided solely for informational purposes only. You are urged to speak with an attorney in your locale to obtain specific legal information about your questions.
Some divorce debts can be discharged in Bankruptcy, and some can't. It is up to you to take the matter into the bankruptcy court to obtain a ruling. If you don't act promptly, you may lose just by not acting, so I would recommend that you get competent legal counsel to represent you as a creditor immediately.
What you should do is file a complaint to determine whether the debt is dischargeable or not. It would appear to be exempt from Chapter 7 discharge under 523(a)(15). Child and spousal support fall under 523(a)(5) as domestic support obligations.
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]