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Can I Still Collect Alimony if My Ex is Bankrupt?

If your former spouse is bankrupt and you are unsure about whether or not you can still obtain alimony payments, read on and reach out to our skilled Morris County NJ alimony and spousal support lawyers. Reach out to our firm to learn more about how we can help you.

Am I required to pay alimony if my former spouse is bankrupt?

Typically, alimony obligations do not eliminate if an individual has filed for bankruptcy. You will want to recognize that filing for bankruptcy to avoid an obligation to pay spousal support is not a good idea because domestic support obligations cannot usually be “discharged” (canceled or dismissed) in a bankruptcy proceeding. The understood rule is that debt for a “domestic support obligation” is not dischargeable.

Under the United States Bankruptcy Code (Title 11 of the United States Code), Section 523 that [a] discharge under Section 727, 1141, 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from “domestic support obligations.”

“Domestic support obligation” conveys a debt (including interest) that is owed to or recoverable by a spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor, by the child’s parent, legal guardian, or accountable relative, or by a governmental unit, such as alimony, maintenance, or support (including assistance provided by a governmental unit) under a separation agreement, divorce decree, or property settlement agreement, an order of a court of record, or a determination made by a governmental department.

DSOs are offered quite a bit of priority under the bankruptcy code, as they are usually one of the first debts paid by a bankruptcy trustee. If you have additional questions or concerns concerning alimony obligations after a former spouse goes bankrupt, give our firm a call today. Our legal team is on your side to help you through this difficult time.

What are the exceptions to this rule?

There are two examples where alimony can be discharged as a result of alimony. First, if a divorce law specifies that an obligation to a spouse is alimony, but the obligation is not actually alimony, then the obligation can be discharged in bankruptcy.

Second, in some circumstances, a former spouse may be able to discharge an alimony obligation if the obligation has been allocated to a third party.

If you would like to learn more about the exceptions to this rule, give our skilled New Jersey firm a call today. Our legal team will be able to evaluate the details of your case and decide the best solution for you and your family. We are prepared to help you and look forward to hearing from you.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.