Bankruptcy Does Not Discharge A Court Order for Child Support, Spousal Support, and Arrears

A common misconception about bankruptcy is that it can be used to discharge all debts and obligations, including child support, spousal support, and support arrears (also known as “arrearages”). That is not the case. Child support and spousal support orders are referred to by federal law as “domestic support obligations” and are considered “nondischargeable debts.” Any domestic support obligation incurred before, during or after the date of an order for relief under the bankruptcy act cannot be discharged.  This includes interest that accrues on those debts. Thus, a payor of child support or spousal support who files for bankruptcy must continue to meet his/her support obligations.