The court ordered you to pay your former spouse alimony during your divorce. Unfortunately, you have filed for bankruptcy since the court made that determination. Please continue reading, then contact an experienced Bergen County, New Jersey alimony lawyer today for more information on whether you can stop alimony payments to your former spouse after declaring bankruptcy.
Can you discharge your alimony obligation to your former spouse after you file for bankruptcy in New Jersey?
Simply filing for bankruptcy will not be sufficient to result in the termination of alimony payments in the vast majority of cases in New Jersey. In the Garden State, the bankruptcy code defines debts such as “Domestic Support Obligation,” or DSOs, as automatically non-dischargeable in both a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 bankruptcy. You will still have to pay the debt if you have an arrearage.
Even so, a bankruptcy might entitle you to a modification of your spousal support payments.
What constitutes a Domestic Support Obligation in New Jersey?
Any debt, including interest that accrues before, on or after the date you file for bankruptcy in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support, will qualify as a Domestic Support Obligation according to the New Jersey bankruptcy code.
Separation agreements, divorce decrees, property settlement agreements, court orders and determinations made by a “governmental unit” can all create a Domestic Support Obligation. Because bankruptcy trustees often pay this debt first, the bankruptcy code gives substantial priority to Domestic Support Obligations.
Can bankruptcy help you not pay alimony in New Jersey?
Bankruptcy may be able to help you if you are behind on alimony payments. For instance, filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy may enable you to establish a plan to repay the arrearage over anywhere from three to five years. By doing this, you may prevent your former spouse from vigorously and maliciously pursuing what he or she feels entitled to by state law. You should reach out to a skilled Hackensack, New Jersey divorce lawyer if you fear that your former spouse will try to employ punitive measures to force you to pay money you do not have.
How can HD Family Law assist you?
A qualified legal professional will help you prove to the appropriate entities that you have not sought to cheat the system by deliberately wasting your funds and/or willfully becoming unemployed. Your attorney may take this argument to court if it proves necessary. The court may have ordered you to pay alimony, but you still have rights. Let HD Family Law defend them on your behalf. Please give our office a call today.
Contact Our Experienced Bergen County Firm
If you are facing any family law matter, contact HD Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation.