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Ex-wife has to reimburse ex-husband for alimony

When a person decides to file bankruptcy, it is usually because they can no longer afford their bills and are seeking an end to creditor harassment. Many different types of debts can be eliminated through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as medical bills and credit card balances. However, our Chicago readers might be interested to know that a court has ruled that a woman cannot discharge the spousal support she was ordered to repay her ex-husband.

When the couple divorced, the husband was ordered to pay spousal support. In many cases, the spousal support must be paid until the payee spouse either remarries, dies or after a set amount of years. This was the case for this particular couple.

Things changed when the ex-husband petitioned the court to stop paying spousal support because his ex-wife had been living with a man for two years. The ex-husband argued that the ex-wife had been living in a marriage-like setting and spousal support was not needed. The court agreed, and in turn, ordered the ex-wife to pay back the spousal support she had received over the past two years.

The ex-wife filed bankruptcy and included the repayment of the spousal support as one of the debts. The ex-husband objected and filed an adversary complaint. The bankruptcy court agreed with the ex-husband and stated the ex-wife could not discharge the debt owed to the ex-husband. The decision was also upheld on appeal.

The debt could not be wiped because obligations such as spousal support, child support and other monetary agreements set force in a divorce proceeding supersede a debtor's desire for a fresh financial start. However, for people struggling with a variety of types of debt, eliminating the amounts that can be discharged can make paying the obligations you have to keep that much easier. Anyone who is struggling financially should consider speaking to a legal professional who can detail the options available to provide some financial relief.

Source: Bloomberg Law, "DEBT OWED TO EX-HUSBAND FOR OVERPAYMENT OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT IS NONDISCHARGEABLE" Diane Davis, Dec. 13, 2013

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