Even though bankruptcy is intended to be a last resort for individuals who have fallen under the weight of financial hardship, many people continue to view it as some sort of debt eraser that allows them to wipe out all of their outstanding debts. It’s important to understand that bankruptcy does not serve as a “get out of jail free” card; some types of debts are not eligible for bankruptcy protection. If you are considering bankruptcy protection, you should educate yourself on the types of debt that won’t be erased by bankruptcy.
Child support and alimony
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people who have fallen behind on child support and alimony to try filing for bankruptcy as a means of erasing their outstanding debts. Since those payments are ordered by a court, they are not eligible to be erased if you file for bankruptcy. Failure to pay child support and alimony, even after filing for bankruptcy, can result in criminal prosecution.
If you have a car loan or another similar type of debt, you have what is considered a “secured loan.” This means the company that issued the loan will either receive money or some other form of compensation, such as repossession of a vehicle. If you file for bankruptcy protection, you will still owe these debts. If you are not able to pay them, the creditor can legally repossess the items you borrowed money to purchase.
Legal fees and debts stemming from divorce
It is also not uncommon for a judge to order one party in a divorce to pay for the legal fees associated with the divorce proceedings. If you are the party who has been ordered to pay, bankruptcy will not exempt you from your legal obligation to pay those debts. These types of debts fall under the same classification as child support and alimony since they are court-ordered debts.
If you make the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney to guide you through the process. Your lawyer may help you understand what debts will be erased and which ones won’t.