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Will I have to pay alimony, child support if I file bankruptcy?

The emotional toll that a divorce can take on people is undeniable. Unfortunately, it can also take a financial toll on divorcing spouses and this can only add to the anxiety of the situation.

Getting divorced costs money and it can greatly affect a person's financial standing long after the divorce is finalized. Between the legal expenses and the division of assets, many Texans find it very difficult to regain financial security after divorce. In some cases, people choose to file bankruptcy to have debts discharged and to get back on track. However, it is crucial that people in this situation understand how bankruptcy will affect their financial obligations to their family.

Generally speaking, child support payments and alimony obligations will not be discharged when and if you file bankruptcy. However, you can have other debts discharged which can make it easier to keep up with the payments that remain.

For example, let's imagine a father who has recently gotten divorced. On top of that, he has been struggling to keep up with credit card bills and pay off medical expenses incurred since the divorce. Add to these the child support and alimony payments he was ordered to pay, and he may find himself buried in debt.

If this man files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he could have his credit card and medical expense debt discharged. If he is no longer bound to these financial commitments, this can free up a significant amount of money that can now go toward child and spousal support payments.

It is also important to note that this man -- and others in a similar situation -- may be able to seek modifications in their payments from the court, regardless of if he files bankruptcy. Support modifications can be granted when a person's financial standing has changed dramatically and the existing order is no longer appropriate.

What we hope readers will take away from this post is that there are options for people who are struggling to keep up with payments for their ex and their children. Whether that includes debt relief solutions, support modifications or other options depends on the unique situation at hand. Discussing the options with an attorney can help people identify possible solutions and avoid the penalties of delinquency.

Source: United States Courts, "Discharge in Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy Basics," accessed on June 4, 2015

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