For many of those in Salem who come to us here at The Law Office of Paul Petrillo seeking debt relief solutions, spousal support ranks among their largest debts. If you find yourself significantly far behind in your alimony payments and lack the means to make up your debt, you may also be desperately seeking a resolution that does not involve legal trouble. Bankruptcy could be one alternative that you are considering.

Unfortunately, that may not be an option. Section 523 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code lists the forms of debt that cannot be discharged through a personal bankruptcy. Domestic support obligations are included among them. However, there are certain scenarios where back payments for spousal support may be afforded bankruptcy protection.

The first is if another party other than your ex-spouse has been assigned responsibility to collect his or her alimony. For example, if he or she has given that role to an accounting firm, then you could potentially argue that your obligation is to them, and not your spouse, thus disqualifying it from being considered domestic.

The other scenario where you could potentially have spousal support discharged through bankruptcy is if your divorce decree does not specifically classify your payments as alimony. Again, in such a situation, your payments may not qualify for the “domestic obligation” label.

If neither of the scenarios applies to you, the court may require that you continue to send your payments to your ex-spouse, citing the fact that the discharge of other debt obligations leaves you with the money needed to pay your alimony debt. In this case, modifying your divorce decree regarding your alimony payments going forward could free up money to meet back payments.

For more information on the debt relief provided by bankruptcy, please continue to research our site.