What happens if I file for divorce while in bankruptcy?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

I am currently going through bankruptcy and my wife wants a divorce. What happens if I file for divorce while in bankruptcy?

Will I still be ordered to pay child support and alimony by the divorce court if I am bankrupt?


If you file for divorce during the course of a bankruptcy, the divorce court will not have jurisdiction over any of your assets or liabilities that are part of your bankruptcy estate. The divorce court can get jurisdiction to dissolve the assets and liabilities of your marriage if your bankruptcy stay is lifted.

Your bankruptcy proceedings will vary depending on whether you have filed a single or joint bankruptcy and whether you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your family law attorney and bankruptcy attorney should work together to determine the best course of action for your cases.

Although your assets and liabilities may not be part of your divorce proceedings, the divorce court maintains jurisdiction to order spousal support or child support. Both of these obligations are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Spousal or child support will be awarded just like it would in any case, even if you are in bankruptcy. The divorce court also has authority to make child custody and parenting time decisions.

Although I practice law in Michigan, I cannot give you legal advice without thoroughly reviewing your case. Do not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients in Michigan.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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