There are certain financial obligations that are relatively untouched by the act of filing for bankruptcy and alimony is one of those financial obligations that does not go away in the course of bankruptcy proceedings. This is understandable. Alimony is paid to a former spouse, not a corporation, and as such is not a debt that should be easily erased. However, you may be able to modify alimony during bankruptcy.
Reconsideration Of Alimony
Depending on how far you want to take this issue of modifying alimony payments, you could always ask that a judge reconsider how much alimony you should be paying. Of course, when you open this type of discussion then the outcome may not be what you expect. It could lead to a reduction in your alimony payments, to no change at all, or even to an increase in alimony payments because of your reduced debts. This is a route to consider with caution. If you are hoping to modify your alimony payments not only during bankruptcy but also long after then this is one way to attempt it but it could backfire.
This is the option that you may have where your alimony payments will be modified temporarily. If you file for bankruptcy, such as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you can have your alimony payments reduced while you are paying off all of your debts but only if your income is not sufficient to cover the debts that you have that cannot be discharged. These reduced alimony payments will be a part of your overall payment plan and will help you to afford the payments that will lead you out of debt.
Once you are out of debt then you will go back to making your full alimony payments. But that's not all. The amount of alimony that you did not pay during the time that your alimony payments were modified does not go away. It will have to be repaid as well. You should know that once you have cleared away all of your other debts then you will have to contend with all the alimony payments that have backed up while you were repaying everything else.
What An Attorney Can Do For You
An attorney can look at the merits of your bankruptcy and alimony case and help you to decide on a course of action. Your attorney can also prepare you for any ways that your attempts to modify alimony payments might not go as planned so that you are ready for these eventualities. Basically, an attorney can lay out all your options for modifying alimony during bankruptcy and tell you how likely it is that each one will work out in your favor.