By: Christina Pashou, Esq.
Under Massachusetts Law, support to one’s family, whether child support or alimony, cannot be discharged in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Massachusetts bankruptcy filings. If you are owed child support or alimony, pursuant to a divorce separation agreement, and the other party files for bankruptcy, it is imperative that you know your rights regarding the same.
- In a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, you file a petition asking the court to discharge your debts, thereby eliminating/liquidating your debt. The basic idea in a chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out (“discharge”) your debts in exchange for your giving up property, except for “exempt” property which the law allows you to keep.
- In Chapter 7 Cases, domestic support obligations (child support and alimony) are non-dischargeable. 11 U.S.C. § 523(a). Therefore, if you file for Chapter 7, you will still be responsible for repaying these debts after your discharge.
- In a bankruptcy case under Chapter 13, you file a “plan” showing how you will pay off some of your past-due and current debts over three to five years. The most important thing about a chapter 13 case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property, which might otherwise be lost, if you can make the payments which the bankruptcy law requires to be made to your creditors.
- In a Chapter 13 Case, domestic support obligations (child support and alimony) are non-dischargeable. 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a). Accordingly, if you have overdue child support or alimony, those amounts must be paid in full over the term of the plan
Overall, filing for bankruptcy will not change the current support obligations following bankruptcy. At the conclusion of either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor’s obligations to pay support remain unchanged, unless and until an order of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court modifies said obligation.
To speak with a lawyer about divorce or other family law matter, contact Mavrides Law in Boston, Newton, or Quincy, MA. To schedule an initial consultation, call 617-723-9900 or contact the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org