Consumer bankruptcy filings for the first half of this year are currently at record levels. There is evidence to suggest that a good number of these scenarios include divorce situations where a spouse is receiving or paying for child support and/or alimony.
Think filing for bankruptcy will absolve child or spousal support payments? Not so.
“Child support payments and spousal support payments generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy,” said Reginald Osenton of Osenton Law Offices in Brandon, Florida. “This means that a parent who owes child support cannot usually escape meeting those obligations, no matter whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.”
Section 523 of the United States Bankruptcy Code states that an individual debtor may not be discharged from debt “to a spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor, for alimony to, maintenance for, or support of such spouse or child, in connection with a separation agreement, divorce decree or other order of a court of record, determination made in accordance with State or territorial law by a governmental unit, or property settlement agreement.”
Spouses who file for bankruptcy often are behind in support payments. Bankruptcy law even mandates that the nonpaying spouse be among those creditors first in line to be paid. Nonpaying spouses are also to be kept apprised of the status of the bankruptcy proceedings.
“But there are some exceptions, however,” Osenton added. “Discharges in spousal or child support may be granted if the debt, for example, is assigned to a third party such as the state or federal government.”
With the rising number of bankruptcies this year, there is more concern than ever about how this will affect child/spousal support payments. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the number of total filings is up 14 percent during the first half of 2010 when compared to the first half of 2009.
The above information about bankruptcy and how it can impact child and spousal support obligations is offered as general advice. If you are currently experiencing difficulty in either paying or receiving child support or alimony, however, contact your divorce attorney for more in-depth advice and counseling.
To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.