Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support And Alimony Obligations?
When two people divorce, the court may order one party to pay the other alimony. Alimony payments are ordered in situations where one spouse needs the money to take care of their needs, and the other spouse has enough money to afford payments. Generally, alimony is meant to help a divorced person maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage. Also, during a divorce, the court may order the higher-income parent to be making payments to the lower-income parent for the financial benefit of their child. Such payments are known as child support payments. If you are receiving or making child support or alimony payments, you may be wondering how bankruptcy affects such payments. Maybe you are considering filing bankruptcy or have learned that the payer is planning to or has filed bankruptcy. Below, we will discuss what happens to alimony and child support obligations when a person files for bankruptcy in Florida.
Can Alimony and Child Support Be Discharged Through Bankruptcy in Florida?
Bankruptcy is an option that can help a person discharge a lot of debts and make a positive change to their financial situation. However, in the United States of America, discharge is not an option for certain debts when a person files for bankruptcy. Alimony and child support debts are among those debts. These debts are referred to as “priority debt.” If a person is required by the court to pay alimony and/or child support, bankruptcy cannot help them put an end to that obligation. A court order is the only thing that can change whether or not a person must pay alimony and/or child support or how much they must pay. In other words, alimony and child support debts are debts that people cannot get out of paying by filing bankruptcy.
Modifying Child Support and Alimony Payments
If you are considering filing bankruptcy primarily to discharge alimony and/or child support debts, now you know that the bankruptcy code does not allow such debts to be discharged. However, that does not mean you don’t have options. In Florida, alimony and child support payments can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. For instance, if you lost your job, you can ask the court to modify alimony and/or child support payments. The following are other examples of unforeseen grounds for a modification;
- Increased cost of living
- Health care expenses
It is crucial to note that child support and alimony modifications must be approved by the court. An unofficial agreement between the payer and the receiving party is not sufficient to legally alter alimony or child support payments. Contact an attorney for guidance if you believe there has been a change in circumstances that warrants the modification of alimony and/or child support payments.
In conclusion, as much as the bankruptcy code does not allow for the discharge of alimony and child support debts, filing bankruptcy may impact the potential for any modification of child support or alimony payments. A payer who files bankruptcy may not be required to pay the same amount they were paying before they filed for bankruptcy.
Contact an Orlando Family Lawyer
Whether you are the one paying alimony and/or child support or the one receiving payments, the qualified Orlando family lawyers at Arwani Law Firm are here to answer all your questions. Contact us at 407-254-0060 or by filling out our online contact form.