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Can I Discharge My Child Support or Spousal Support Through Bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | Child Custody, Spousal Support

Child support and alimony are sometimes collectively referred to by the Court as a domestic support obligation. They both fall into this same category of an obligation to pay support created by the Court’s order. Court orders for child support and spousal support require payment of a specific amount from one spouse to the other each month for the benefit of the other spouse or the couple’s children or both the other spouse and the couple’s children. A domestic support obligation can also be determined by voluntary agreement between spouses in a marital settlement agreement that is later recognized by the Court.

When a parent declares bankruptcy, they seek the protection of bankruptcy law. One of the main benefits of declaring bankruptcy is the discharge of debt, but certain types of debt are not generally discharged through bankruptcy. The bankruptcy code exempts explicitly domestic support obligations like child support and spousal support from being eliminated through a bankruptcy discharge.

Child Support & Bankruptcy

Child support is a Court ordered domestic support obligation. A bankruptcy petitioner’s obligation to pay for the support of their child or children cannot be discharged. When a parent files for bankruptcy, they must keep paying their Court ordered payments as ordered by the Court. Any missed child support payments or past due payments are still due and will have to be paid after filing for bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge of debt.

Spousal Support or Alimony & Bankruptcy

Like child support, alimony or spousal support is a type of Court ordered domestic support obligation. This type of debt cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. Bankruptcy petitioners must continue to make their Court-ordered spousal support payments after filing for bankruptcy. Any past due payments or missed payments will still be due after the bankruptcy is complete, and the petitioner receives their bankruptcy discharge.

If you have concerns about making your child support or spousal support payments, contact an experienced Orange County California family law attorney at The Maggio Law Firm today. We can provide you with information on how to obtain a child support or spousal support modification and help you build your case.