How a Bankruptcy Petition Affects the Divorce Order:
• Filing for bankruptcy does not change the child support obligation; you will still have
to pay your child support under the child support order in effect. Filing for
bankruptcy also does not generally change alimony or maintenance obligations; you
usually will have to continue to pay your alimony or maintenance.
• Once a bankruptcy petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court, the Family Court
cannot change or modify child support or maintenance payments. This is because the
Vermont State courts cannot make any orders, except enforcement of support
orders, while the bankruptcy is being handled in Bankruptcy Court.
• Filing for bankruptcy can affect a divorce property settlement. Typically, if one
spouse owes another spouse some property as part of a divorce order, this property
award can be "discharged," or canceled, in bankruptcy. If possible, you should try to
make sure that you get a mortgage on any real property that you are awarded, or
that you get a security interest in any personal property that is awarded to you in
• You should consult an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, if you think there is a
possibility that your spouse will file for bankruptcy if there are outstanding property
and support obligations in a divorce.
• If your spouse files for bankruptcy AFTER a final order, you may still request that
the bankruptcy court NOT discharge your property settlement. This MUST be done
within 60 days of the ‘Meeting of Creditors”, and again it is recommended that
you consult a lawyer.
• Vermont Legal Aid may be able to direct you to a bankruptcy lawyer who can assist
you in this matter. You may reach them at: 1-800-889-2047
You can obtain helpful information, as well as court forms at:
Pamphlet #14 August 2007