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Bankruptcy does not stay collection for alimony and child support against debtor’s exempt assets

by Dorota Trzeciecka on October 30th, 2016

When an ex-spouse files for bankruptcy to avoid the obligations that he/she was ordered to pay to the former ex-spouse pursuant to a divorce decree, it does not mean that collection efforts by the creditor ex-spouse for all obligations are going to be automatically stayed.

If it’s alimony or child support that the debtor former spouse is obligated to pay, such obligation may not be discharged in bankruptcy, in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Moreover, unlike most creditors’ collection actions, which are automatically stayed, the creditor ex-spouse can proceed with collection efforts against the debtor ex-spouse’s exempt assets during the pendency of bankruptcy.  These assets include, among others, 401 k, homestead, or a pension plan, or any assets that have been abandoned by a trustee.  When in doubt as to whether the property is truly exempt under Chapter 222 Florida Statues, or that the time for objecting to exemptions by the trustee, and by other creditors in bankruptcy, have passed, the creditor ex-spouse should file a motion for stay relief.

Dorota is a solo practitioner in Surfside, practicing in the areas of consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure loan modifications,  debt settlement, and alternative dispute resolutions.  For more information on marital debt and bankruptcy she may be reached at 305-439-0464 and dorota@debtor-creditorlaw.com.