How Bankruptcy Affects Child Support & Alimony

Child support and alimony receive nearly the greatest level of protection when you file bankruptcy. Although child support is considered “unsecured debt,” which is typically dischargeable, the Bankruptcy Code provides special treatment for this domestic obligation. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 507(a). Child support and alimony will be the first of the unsecured claims to be paid among all your other unsecured creditors. Keep in mind that child support and alimony obligations cannot be discharged through either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. See bankruptcy laws 11 U.S.C. § 727 & 1328. You will be responsible to continue making those payments to your former spouse during the life of your bankruptcy case, and after you receive your discharge. However, there may still be options to reduce the amount of child support, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy lawyer can help describe some of the options that may be available to reduce your amount of child support.

If you are an individual who receives child support and/or alimony, you will be able to protect that income with the “support” federal exemption afforded to you by the Bankruptcy law. See 11 U.S.C. § 522. The entire amount that you receive from your former spouse will be protected, meaning that the trustee cannot take that income away from you. For information about a specific case or set of circumstances you should contact a bankruptcy law firm to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Child support and alimony will also receive protection under the “automatic stay” that takes place once you file bankruptcy. This takes effect immediately in order to preserve the property of the estate and to prevent any pre-petition claims from being paid outside of your bankruptcy. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 362. However, if you have a judicial lien against you for failure to pay your child support or alimony obligations prior to you filing bankruptcy, the automatic stay will not apply to that judicial lien and you will be responsible to pay that lien amount. Again, this lien amount will not be discharged in either Chapter 7 or 13. For more information on discharge of debts in bankruptcy click here.

Additionally, if you are behind on your child support and/or alimony obligations, filing Chapter 13 may be a good avenue for you to get caught up on your payments. In fact, you would be required to pay any outstanding child support or alimony payments in full through the life of your Chapter 13 repayment plan in order to receive discharge. The benefit of having your child support/alimony obligations paid through your Chapter 13 plan is that it could potentially reduce the amount that you would have to pay back to other unsecured creditors and increase the amount of credit card or medical debt that would be discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 plan.

Bankruptcy Law Firm in Tamp
Bankruptcy law can be very confusing and intimidating. If you are considering seeking bankruptcy protection you should contact a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. for legal advice. The bankruptcy attorneys at our firm have years of experience helping people just like you to solve their financial problems and obtain a fresh start. We have many options available that can help you successfully manage your debt and regain your financial health. Regardless if you need help with Chapter 13, Chapter 7, or other debt relief, our professional legal team will provide you with competent legal advice you can trust. To see which options may be available to you, contact us to today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at our firm.

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