Can I use bankruptcy to discharge past due child support and alimony?

Can I use bankruptcy to discharge past due child support?No. Bankruptcy cannot be used to discharge past due child support, alimony payments or any other form of spousal support.

It also cannot be used to lower your present or future support payments.

If your financial circumstances have changed (or your ex-spouse’s have), you must petition the court that ordered the support payments for a reduction.

With that said, there is one way bankruptcy can help you catch up your child support and alimony payments.

How bankruptcy can help you

Under Chapter 13, an “adjustment of debts” can give you the time and flexibility you need to bring your support payments current. This can help keep you in good graces with your ex-spouse and local enforcement agency.

A few facts to note:

1.  Protection from your ex-spouse and support enforcement goes into effect the moment your Chapter 13 petition is filed.

2.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not provide any protection for ongoing support payments, only for the past due amounts included in your petition. You must make all ongoing support payments on time.

3.  If you fail to make support payments, your ex-spouse can file a motion in court and get permission to resume collection of the arrears. Without the court’s protection, you’re facing license suspension, jail time and other penalties.

4.  Your ex-spouse can also move the court to dismiss your bankruptcy case in its entirety. If their motion is granted, your case will be dismissed and all of your creditors will have the right to resume collection efforts against you.

Contact our bankruptcy lawyers to discuss your situation. Click here to schedule a no-obligation consultation or give us a call at 610.734.0750.

Glenn A. Brown, Esq.

Attorney Glenn Brown and the Real World Law team provides legal protection to homeowners and businesses in eminent domain and condemnation actions, commercial and residential real estate closings, and other litigation matters. If you're a property owner in need of legal protection, contact our law firm. We've two convenient office locations, serving communities in and around Upper Darby, PA and Wilmington, DE.

Leave a Reply