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Child Support and Alimony and Related Attorney’s Fees

Debts owed for alimony or child support are not dischargeable in any bankruptcy case (Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13). Alimony and child support payments can not be discharged, regardless of whether it relates to arrearages (past due amounts) or an ongoing support obligation.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has also ruled that court-ordered payment of attorneys’ fees incurred in post-divorce / child custody litigation should be recognized as child support, and is also non-dischargeable. Dvorak v. Carlson, 986 F.2d 940 (5th Cir. 1993). The language of the governing statute does not appear to support the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that attorney’s fees related to divorce, alimony, child support or child custody issues are also non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Nevertheless, the Fifth Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals is the federal appellate court that establishes binding legal precedent for all bankruptcy cases filed in Texas.  Therefore, this is the binding common law rule for all Texas bankruptcy cases.

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