So your ex has been ordered to pay alimony but has informed you that he or she is filing for bankruptcy, too. Now you’re worried alimony owed to you may get discharged along with his or her debts. Well, you’d be glad to know that that is not the case. Like child support and student loans, alimony falls under the exception of items not included in bankruptcy.
Alimony, or spousal support, is a useful little tool designed to bridge the income gap between spouses after divorce. Once thought of as a rehabilitative measure, alimony was used to bring the lower earning spouse to a level of income that would keep him or her at the standard of living he or she was while married. Although the amount of alimony and length of time it is owed is decided by the court, it doesn’t follow the same stringent calculations and enforcement that child support does. That being said, alimony is still a court ordered payment and remains due even after bankruptcy.
Although bankruptcy law varies from state to state, there are several debts that are considered exempt from a discharge such as criminal fines, educational debts, child support and, of course, alimony. The measures used to collect child support, often enforced through wage garnishment, may not be applicable in collecting alimony. A trusted divorce attorney can provide you with more information on paying and collecting alimony, as well as the best course of action for your case. With the help of a qualified attorney, you may file a contempt order that will bring the issue of back alimony in front of the family court where a more enforced order may be made.