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How does Personal Bankruptcy Affect Court-Ordered Support?

Saturday, 26 June 2010

blog-logoGiven the state of the economy, more and more Colorado residents are facing bankruptcy.  While filing for bankruptcy can provide a fresh start after prolonged unemployment or a serious illness, it cannot be used as a way to escape court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance.  However, if your former spouse is planning to claim personal bankruptcy, there are steps you can take to prevent a disruption in support.  A Colorado Springs divorce attorney can help you protect yourself.

Since 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BACPA) has been in place to ensure that past due child support and/or spousal support be paid before any other debts in a bankruptcy, including back taxes.  But despite these legal protections, a Colorado divorce attorney will strongly encourage that you file a “Nondischargability complaint” to ensure your interests are protected. 

Under Colorado state law, your former spouse’s bankruptcy trustee is obligated to alert you at the time of the bankruptcy filing, and again at the time of discharge.  More than likely, the trustee will create a schedule for past due and future payments.  This is where your legal counsel can step in, by being present at the bankruptcy hearings.  A family law attorney working on your behalf can serve as an advocate for your best interests, and the best interests of your children, by negotiating an acceptable payment schedule.

Remember, your former spouse still has the right to petition your local Colorado family court for a modification of child support and/or spousal support after the bankruptcy.  At that hearing, he or she will need to demonstrate a financial hardship or change in circumstances. Your divorce attorney may be able to make the case that your ex-spouse is in a better financial position post-bankruptcy than they were in the past.  Now, more than ever, it is important to work with a  local Colorado Springs divorce attorney.

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