Law Office of Judith A. Descalso Law Office of Judith A. Descalso

Are spousal support and child support discharged in bankruptcy?

Millions of Americans, including many Escondido residents, pay either spousal support or child support as required by a court order. For most people who are subject to these orders, the monthly payments are simply another financial obligation that needs to be accounted for in their budgets. But, for others, they may get behind on making the payments, leading to thousands of dollars owed in arrears. For these individuals, they may think that a personal bankruptcy filing could do away with the obligations. But is that actually an option?

Put simply, the answer is "no." There are many different types of debt that can be discharged by filing for bankruptcy. Most of our readers know from seeing previous posts here that credit card debt can be discharged, as can debt from agreements such as car loans. However, spousal support and child support, termed in the bankruptcy courts as domestic support obligations," cannot be discharged.

But, does that mean that a bankruptcy filing has no impact whatsoever on spousal support and child support? Not necessarily. Anyone who has this type of financial obligation likely knows that a drastic change in a person's financial status can lead a court to modify the amount of the monthly payment obligation.

If an Escondido resident is filing for bankruptcy that would most likely qualify as a drastic change in circumstances for the family court that ordered the support. As a result, the person's monthly payment may be adjusted to a lower amount that could help with the person's financial recovery post-bankruptcy.

Source:, "Alimony & Support," Accessed May 31, 2015

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