It’s no secret that divorce can be a tough process, both emotionally and financially. One of the biggest financial burdens associated with divorce is alimony. But what happens when you’re struggling financially during your divorce and must deal with bankruptcy and alimony?
What if you can’t afford to pay alimony? Can filing for bankruptcy help you avoid this financial obligation?
Here’s what you need to know about alimony and bankruptcy:
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment from one ex-spouse to another following a divorce. This payment is typically made to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living after the divorce. Alimony is either paid in lump sums or periodic payments and is typically court-ordered.
Can Filing for Alimony Help You Avoid Alimony?
In short, no. Alimony is considered a domestic support obligation, which means that it is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. This means that even if you file for bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for paying any alimony that you owe.
However, filing for bankruptcy can help you free up some extra money to pay your alimony obligations. This is because, when you file for bankruptcy, certain debts (such as credit card debt or medical bills) will be discharged. This can leave you with more money each month to put towards your alimony payments.
Additionally, if you are behind on your alimony payments, filing for bankruptcy can help you catch up. This is because when you file for bankruptcy your creditors can’t take any collection actions against you. This means that your wages cannot be garnished and your bank accounts cannot be frozen. This can give you some breathing room to catch up on your alimony payments.
What’s the bottom line?
Filing for bankruptcy will not help you avoid paying alimony, but it can free up some extra money to put towards your payments. If you are behind on your alimony payments, filing for bankruptcy can also help you catch up by stopping creditors from taking any collection actions against you.
What about Other Court-Ordered Debts?
It depends on the debt.
For example, filing for bankruptcy puts a stop to any legal proceedings including foreclosure. This means that you won’t have to worry about making any payments to the court.
However, court-ordered payments like child support or fines related to legal issues do not go away when you file for bankruptcy. You’ll need to make these payment obligations regardless of your bankruptcy case. What bankruptcy can do, as is the case with alimony, is free up money to put toward these debts.
If you are struggling with debt, bankruptcy can help. However, it doesn’t get rid of all debts. Before filing, you need to make sure bankruptcy will help you with the types of debts you have.