If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy and have child support and/or alimony obligations, the most important thing to understand is that bankruptcy will not help you eliminate these debts. If you find that you’re having trouble affording these financial obligations, you should consult with a family lawyer for help.
Alimony & Child Support Are Non-Dischargeable Debts
While many people with burdensome post-divorce financial obligations might think that bankruptcy can help them get out of debt, the reality is that it can’t—at least not for alimony and child support debt. This is because these debts are classified as non-dischargeable debts, which the court can’t eliminate through bankruptcy.
This fact underscores the importance of ensuring that the alimony and child support payments fairly consider your financial situation. If the court’s original order is too burdensome because you lost your job, aren’t making as much money as you used to, or because your spouse has become self-sustaining or cohabits with someone else, you can petition the court to modify your payments.
What Do I Do If I Have a Lot of Child Support & Alimony Debt?
If a significant change in your financial situation has occurred, you can petition the court to modify your child support and/or alimony payments. Even so, there is some risk to consider when petitioning to modify a post-divorce settlement.
First, there’s no guarantee that the judge will grant a reduction in your payment obligations. A judge may not agree that your financial situation has changed enough to warrant modification, and they may even blame you for creating the circumstances that made your financial situation more difficult.
Second, petitioning the court to modify alimony or child support can go in the opposite direction. Even if you petition the court to lower your payments, a judge may raise your payment obligations. This can happen if your ex-spouse’s financial situation has worsened or if the court determines that your children require additional support.
An Experienced Family Lawyer Can Help
While it’s important to consider the risk of petitioning the court to modify alimony or divorce, you may have no better option if you are only adding to your debt burden. A bankruptcy lawyer might be able to help you with your credit card and medical bills, but only a family law attorney can help you address the underlying cause of unmanageable alimony and child support debt.
If you’re interested in learning more about post-divorce modifications and how an experienced family lawyer can help you, reach out to Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. today.