Legal Question in Family Law in Alabama

Debt and divorce

Can you be in too much debt to get divorced? One party is employed, the other quit work to stay home with the kids after divorce was being discussed. Now, the debts are such that the employed can pay only those with nothing left over. Can this keep a divorce from occuring when the employed said he would pay all bills until the other gains employment? If he pays all bills, does he have to pay child support in addition to all debts until the other is employed?

Asked on 8/17/00, 1:09 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Forrester Forrester & Associates

Re: Debt and divorce

Extreme debt will not legally prevent a divorce, however as a practical matter you too may not be able to survive if you further complicate your situation by having two households (doubling of expenses). As to liability for child support, the noncustodial parent will have to pay child support unless a waiver is approved by the judge, which is not likely.

The debts in case of a divorce should be equitably (evenly) divided between the husband and wife. As to the stay at home spouse situation, the impact of that situation depends on several factors such as:

length of stay;

do any of the children have special needs;

the ability of the stay at home spouse to earn a living; and

length of the marriage, etc...

One alternative may be to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy prior to the Divorce, clear the debt situation up, and then go for it.

If we can be of any assistance please feel free to call us, Forrester & Associates, 256-435-1007.

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Answered on 9/23/00, 5:52 am

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