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How Does Bankruptcy Affect Spousal Support?


Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, can create a financial burden on those required to pay and many would be happy to find a way out. The thought of filing for bankruptcy can be appealing if it has the potential to eliminate spousal support payments. But does it?

Whether you're on the paying or receiving end, it's important to understand the affect that bankruptcy has on spousal support and what it could really mean for your future. So before you start making plans, read on to find out if all the hype about bankruptcy and spousal support is deserved.

What Bankruptcy Means for Alimony Payments

Men are often ordered to make spousal support payments more often than women, but this doesn't mean women are exempt. The court makes up their mind based on the needs of each spouse. Although spousal support seems permanent, most assume that surely bankruptcy would eliminate such a financial obligation. Not so fast.

Bankruptcy only has the ability to discharge certain debts and responsibilities. The most common forms of nondischargeable debts include taxes, student loans, and, yes, spousal support. Any kind of payments associated with domestic support obligations are difficult, if not almost impossible, to discharge, regardless of the individual's financial status.

The court may considering modifying the support payments but getting them completely discharged is rare. If your spouse files for bankruptcy in the midst of your divorce proceedings, the court will consider both party's financial obligations, as well as the reasons behind the bankruptcy decision. This may also affect the way that your marital property is divided.

So the short answer? Bankruptcy often doesn't affect spousal support at all. The court expects the individual who filed to continue making their payments in a timely and consistent manner.

If your ex-spouse recently filed for bankruptcy and you're concerned about the future of your alimony, call our Monmouth County divorce attorney. We have decades of combined experience and can provide the compassionate legal counsel you need at this time.

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