If your spouse files bankruptcy, is he still obligated to pay alimony?

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Family Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an alimony obligation cannot usually be discharged in bankruptcy and must be paid in full.

However, there are 2 exceptions:

  1.  If a divorce decree specifies that an obligation to a spouse is alimony but the obligation is not actually in the nature of a direct payment to the ex-spouse, then that obligation can be discharged in bankruptcy. For example, if the divorce decree states that a spouse is to pay a marital debt and that payment is to be treated as alimony, then such a debt can be discharged, or
  2. Also, in certain instances an ex-spouse may be able to discharge an alimony obligation if the obligation has been assigned to a third party. For example, if a spouse does not pay their court ordered alimony and the spouse who is suppossed to recieve it assigns the right to collect the payment to a thrid-party.

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