Does filing bankruptcy eliminate the obligation to pay maintenance, alimony and child support?

Divorce in New York: What is the impact of filing Bankruptcy after a divorce?
Well, in these financial times, this issue is important. There are going to be more people who are filing bankruptcy, foreclosing on mortgages, losing all the value in stock accounts, losing jobs, and otherwise losing all their assets. This is bad enough. But when you consider that some of these people are under court order to pay child support, alimony, maintenance and other property settlement schemes, you are right to wonder what impact this will have on you, if you are someone who is going through a divorce, or has already been adjudicated divorced.
There is good news and bad news. It depends on the role you play in the scheme. If you are the spouse who receives the alimony, child support, property settlement, etc., the news is good. If you are the spouse who pays, the news is bad.
Bankruptcy laws, which were recently amended in 2005, were promulgated to give people who find themselves unable to meet their debt obligations a “fresh start.” To that end, the laws (which are federal) allows that individual to “discharge” debts that he or she otherwise would owe. That means that either they no longer have an obligation to pay the debt, or their obligation is reduced and he or she is given extra time to pay, given a payment plan that is more manageable, or is allowed to re-organize the debt so that they save their business. There are several different chapters in the Bankruptcy Code. Most individuals would file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a divorce scenario, if one party owns a business, he or she may also file a chapter 11 bankruptcy.
At the time of the filing of a Bankruptcy, all property to which the debtor owns a legal and equitable interest is considered PROPERTY OF THE ESTATE and is subject to bankruptcy proceedings. In a chapter 13, this includes not just property owned at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed but also property acquired after it is filed.
The law in New York right now is that a person filing bankruptcy CANNOT discharge alimony, maintenance and child support. But you can discharge other property settlements that are not alimony, maintenance and child support. That means that if you are the spouse who is ordered to pay alimony, child support and maintenance and you are the one filing for divorce, you HAVE to pay the alimony, maintenance and child support even if you are adjudicated bankrupt. If you are the spouse who receives alimony maintenance and child support and you are the one filing for bankruptcy, then you would get what’s called an “exemption.” That means you would get to keep at least a portion of those payments even if you file bankruptcy.