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Does bankruptcy discharge an alimony obligation?

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Though you may think that you have a good understanding of the law in general, it oftentimes isn't enough to help you through all legal issues. This is part because of the extreme complexity of our state and federal laws as well as the fact that they are subject to change from time to time.

But as some of our more frequent readers know, what really throws most people out of their element is when two areas of law converge, creating a particularly challenging legal issue. It's in cases such as this that people need to remember their right to legal counsel and how to wield that right.

To illustrate this point, consider for a moment a divorced individual with a court order to pay alimony to their former spouse. At the time of the order, the individual had an appropriate level of income and was able to make scheduled payments. But times have been hard and the individual now has to file for bankruptcy. In a situation such as this, a very good question often arises: Does bankruptcy discharge an alimony obligation?

Whether you're filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy - both of which discharge some portion of a person's debt obligation - it's crucial to remember that this does not apply to all debts. Things like child support and alimony obligations are exempt from discharge.

Though you might think this could leave a debtor in a very challenging financial situation, they can seek remedy from a Maryland judge. In showing that an individual's financial situation has changed significantly, a judge may modify a court-ordered obligation or terminate it altogether. Of course, requesting a modification can be tricky and may require the help of a skilled family law attorney.

Sources: FindLaw, "Debts that Remain After a Chapter 13 Discharge," Accessed Oct. 5, 2015

FindLaw, "Debts that Remain After a Chapter 7 Discharge," Accessed Oct. 5, 2015

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