November 13, 2011

Bankruptcy and Child Support

As the economy continues to struggle, bankruptcy can become an enticing option to more and more people who are looking for a fresh start. We have found that bankruptcy can pose some interesting questions for those receiving payments from their former spouse or partner. What happens if your former husband or wife files for bankruptcy? Will you lose your right to collect any back child or spousal support payments? The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) makes certain that child support and spousal support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. In fact, you may be able to collect your debts by attaching property owned by your former spouse that is normally unreachable during a bankruptcy proceeding. Other debts owed to you by your former spouse can sometimes be discharged during bankruptcy, depending on the nature of the debt and the chapter of bankruptcy he or she is filing.

BAPCPA is still relatively a new law, so there is some uncertainty about how BAPCPA will apply in some situations. In addition, the process to protect your rights can be complex if your former spouse files for bankruptcy. If your former spouse owes you money and is filing for bankruptcy, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. The lawyers are Stephens & Margolin LLP have substantial experience in cases involving support obligations and bankruptcy.