Can You File Bankruptcy on Alimony in Arizona?
Under Arizona family law, an ex spouse may be awarded alimony (legally known as spousal support). In the understanding of the Judicial Branch of Arizona, alimony offers a “safety net” for a spouse who cannot provide for their needs. The duration of alimony is determined by the court during the divorce proceedings. In general, judges decide on 1 year of alimony for each 3 years of marriage – although this is not a rule. In some instances, alimony may be permanent (for the rest of the life of the spouse).
However, although alimony payment is compulsory, some changes to the paying spouse’s financial situation may affect the amount owed. But what happens if they declare bankruptcy? Will you still get alimony?
Declaring Bankruptcy Does Not Cancel the Duty to Pay Alimony
There are several legal provisions, apart from Arizona family law, that clearly state that bankruptcy does not affect certain payment obligations, including spousal support. On one hand, The US Bankruptcy Code Section 523 (a)(5) states that domestic support obligations are excepted from the discharge of debt.
On the other hand, the ex spouse who files for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 is still obliged to make child support and/or alimony payments, otherwise the court may dismiss or convert the debtor’s case. Once the monthly payment plan is created for all debts, alimony will be included as a priority debt.
How Can Your Ex Bankruptcy Influence Alimony?
Despite the fact that an ex spouse cannot invoke bankruptcy to legally stop paying alimony as determined by Arizona family law, they may petition the court for a modification of the amount. Depending on the case, this petition may be successful, especially if the ex spouse proves that they have lost the job which represented their main or only source of income – leading to filing for bankruptcy.
Nonetheless, the modification of alimony is applicable only starting with the month when the court granted it. This means that, as per Arizona family law, any overdue alimony amounts must be paid at their initial value.
My Ex Is Bankrupt and Moved Out of State – What Are My Chances of Collection?
An ex may move to another state, possibly to look for a new job. However, it would be of no consequences to their obligation of paying alimony, bankrupt or not. Article IV of the Constitution of the United States stipulates in Section 1:
“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the Public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”
A decision to grant alimony under Arizona family law is a judicial proceeding, thus every other state will enforce it. With the assistance of the authorities and of an experienced family law attorney, you will be able to locate your non-paying ex spouse, notify the authorities in the new state and city they live in and let them enforce your alimony decision.
Get All the Answers You Need from an Arizona Family Law Attorney
You shared your life with someone as spouses for years, but the marriage broke down. It is a blow to you – both emotionally and financially. Your family and friends will provide you with the emotional support you need to find joy in life once again.
And an experienced Arizona family law attorney will make sure that you will not struggle financially. You can rely on the lawyer’s knowledge of the law to give you the advice you need so you can enforce your alimony decision even if your ex declares bankruptcy. No matter what their life circumstances may be, they still owe you the support the court ordered, especially after having enjoyed your emotional support and household services for decades.