What about child support and alimony?

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
Don’t fall under the mistaken impression that filing bankruptcy will release you from your obligation to pay child support and/or alimony. Under bankruptcy laws, no matter what chapter you select, all court-ordered payments for the support of a child or former spouse are non-dischargeable and must be paid in full. Furthermore, a bankruptcy will not suspend or stop your obligation to pay child support or alimony at any time. In short, those payments are immune to the automatic stay that prohibits all creditors from collecting their debts. So, if there are legal proceedings against you to claim alimony or child support payments during your bankruptcy filing, they will be allowed to continue. These debts will also be given priority in payment over other unsecured debts and tax obligations in your bankruptcy case. Once the bankruptcy is over, alimony and child support debts survive, and you’ll still be obligated to pay both in full. Bankruptcy laws make it clear that your right to file bankruptcy will not result in the elimination of your family’s right to receive financial support. It’s important to note that only court-ordered spousal or child support payments are protected by law from being discharged in a bankruptcy. Thus, if you’re making support payments without a court order, then the payments can be terminated in a bankruptcy. Also, sometimes the debts may be discharged if your former spouse or child assigns a third party the right to receive the alimony or support payment. Such judgments, however, are determined on a case-by-case basis by a judge.

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