Past Due Child Support, Alimony, & Other Domestic Support
Where bankruptcy meets domestic relations….
If you are past due on child support, alimony or other types of domestic support obligations (DSO as referred to by the bankruptcy court), you know how critical it can be to get caught up. You can face garnishment, possible loss of your driver’s license, jail time, etc.
Qualifying DSO claims (defined in 11 U.S.C.§ 101 (14A)) cannot be wipe out (discharged) through any type of bankruptcy but you can get help catching up on your past due amount through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can spread out what you are behind for up to 5 yrs and be under the protection of the court during this period.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide you relief if you have suffered from one more more of the following: the withholding, suspension, or restriction of a driver’s license, professional or occupational license, or recreational license, the reporting of overdue support to a consumer reporting agency, or the interception of a tax refund. Once the Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed and the plan to deal with past due support is provided for, these penalties would be a violation of the confirmed plan and the party (usually a government agency) would be subjected to sanctions.
Now when dealing with non-support debts (any other debt that arises in connection with a divorce decree, separation agreement, or similar court order) cannot be discharged (wiped out) in any type of bankruptcy EXCEPT a Chapter 13. For example, attorney fees, sanctions for contempt, costs, fees, payments to third parties (like car notes, mortgage, etc), hold harmless provisions, etc may be eligible for discharge in a completed Chapter 13, under 11 U.S.C.§ 1328 (a).
The law is complicated when it comes to what debts can / cannot be wiped out that have stemmed from a divorce action. It’s important to have the documents that lay out your obligations with you when you consult with me. We will take a look at what you owe and exactly what relief a bankruptcy can offer you.