Does Bankruptcy Discharge Alimony Responsibilities?

A bankruptcy filing can provide debt relief, but it is not a magic wand that makes every type of debt disappear forever. Certain types of debts are looked upon as priority debts that cannot be discharged via a bankruptcy filing. If you are required to pay your spouse alimony or child support, this would be a priority debt, and it could not be discharged. You would still be required to make your alimony payments. However, the bankruptcy filing could help if you are finding it difficult to keep your alimony obligation current.

To explain by way of example, let’s say that you are divorced, and you are required to make alimony payments. Over a period of time, you have accumulated a number of credit cards, and the payments are more and more difficult to make. You are also making payments on some large medical bills. These expenses eat up a large chunk of your disposable income, so it is hard for you to keep your other responsibilities current.

Under these circumstances, if your income is less than the median income in your state, you could choose to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We should point out the fact that it is possible to qualify even if your income is more than the median if you have very little disposable income left after you pay for the basic necessities of life. You get an automatic stay when you file for this type of bankruptcy, so most creditors have to suspend their collection efforts. However, this does not extend to alimony payments.

Your nonexempt property would be liquidated by the trustee to pay back unpaid debts under a Chapter 7, but most people who file have little to no property that is not exempt. Going back to our example, if you don’t have much property that can be liquidated, the credit card debt and medical expenses would be discharged permanently after the bankruptcy became final. Since you would not have to pay these debts anymore, it would be much easier to make your alimony payments on time.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you reside in Tacoma, Vancouver, or tri-cities Washington, we have an office near you, and we also have locations throughout the state of Oregon. We offer free bankruptcy case evaluations, and we would be glad to gain an understanding of your situation and make the appropriate recommendations. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 1-800-682-9568.