The COVID-19 pandemic aftermath has left many people financially overwhelmed. During the height of the pandemic, both federal and state governments provided financial assistance for many, as well as put many moratoriums in effect that prevented legal actions – such as evictions and utility shutoffs – for those who did not have the funds to pay these bills. While many of those moratoriums have been lifted and federal and state assistance has stopped, people are still left facing financial hardships. Bankruptcy may be the solution, however, it is critical to be aware that certain obligations associated with divorce are specifically exempted from bankruptcy and must still be paid regardless of any financial issues.
Child support obligations are one of those financial issues that are almost never dischargeable. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code states explicitly that “domestic support obligations” are not dischargeable, and child support falls under this category. There is sometimes confusion on this score because if you file Chapter 13, any child support arrearages do come under the Chapter 13 plan – but this does not mean these debts are dischargeable; it merely means that under a Chapter 13 repayment plan, the arrearages will be part of that plan.
In most cases, debt relating to the care of your children is less likely to be dischargeable than if it were incurred on your own behalf. A common example is medical care – if your child requires significant medical care, a court is more likely to deem such costs as domestic support obligations if the bills were made under your ex-spouse’s name.
Although spousal support – or alimony – is not required in Illinois like child support is, there are quite a few divorces where the court will award spousal support for a certain amount of time, depending on the circumstances of the marriage. However, like child support, spousal support cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will still need to pay your ex-spouse any back spousal support you may owe.
Contact a Cook County Divorce Attorney
If you are having difficulty meeting your child or spousal support obligations, contact a skilled DuPage County divorce lawyer. Depending on your current financial circumstances, your attorney may be able to file a modification request with the court to have the amounts you have been ordered to pay reduced. Call Botti Marinaccio, LTD. at 630-575-8585 to schedule a consultation.