Domestic Support Obligations

A Domestic Support Obligations (DSO) form must be completed by each debtor in every chapter 7 or chapter 13 case. The Domestic Support Obligations form used in chapter 7 cases is different from the Trustee's Request for Domestic Support Information to be given to the chapter 13 trustee or the Certification regarding Domestic Support Obligations to be filed with the court.

The instructions on the chapter 7 domestic obligations form read as follows:

A “domestic support obligation” is defined broadly to include a debt that accrues before, on, or after the date of the filing of your bankruptcy petition, including interest that accrues on any debt that is owed to or recoverable by a spouse, former spouse or child of the debtor, or such child's parent, legal guardian or responsible relative, or a governmental unit. See 11 U.S.C. § 101(14A).

A domestic support obligation is in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support (including assistance provided by a governmental unit) of such spouse, or child of the debtor or such child's parent, without regard to whether such debt is expressly so designated. Such obligations are domestic support obligations whether they have been established or subject to establishment before, on, or after the date of your bankruptcy filing in accordance with a separation agreement, divorce decree, or property settlement agreement, a court order or a determination made by a governmental unit.

Any such obligation is not a “domestic support obligation” if it has been assigned to a non- governmental entity, unless the obligation is assigned voluntarily by the spouse, former spouse or child of the debtor, or such child's parent, legal guardian or responsible relative, for the purpose of collecting the debt.

Information on the form is used by the bankruptcy trustee to provide notice required by law to DSO claimants.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) at 11 U.S.C. § 704(10) and 11 U.S.C. § 1302(b)(6) requires the chapter 7 or chapter 13 trustee, if there is a claim for a domestic support obligation in a case, to provide written notice (with certain required information) to (1) the holder of the domestic support obligation claim, and (2) the applicable State Child Support Enforcement Agency established by §§ 464 and 466 of the Social Security Act. A notice at the time of filing and a second notice at the time of discharge are required. In the notice to the holder of the domestic support obligation, the trustee must provide contact information for the State Child Support Enforcement Agency.

A DSO form must be signed by each debtor and provided to the bankruptcy trustee at the 341 meeting of creditors — even if a debtor has no domestic support obligations. A debtor who has no Domestic Support Obligation must sign the form after answering “none” to the first question and “not applicable” to the remaining questions.

If you owe alimony, maintenance, or child support, please provide your attorney with all of the information requested on the DSO form so the it can be prepared for your signature before the 341 meeting of creditors. On the form, the “holder” of the Domestic Support Obligation is the person who ultimately receives the support money—the obligee (usually a parent) not the agency through which it is paid (such as Family Support Registry). For example, if John Doe pays child support to Family Support Registry and Jane Doe receives the money from FSR, then Jane Doe’s name, address and telephone number must be provided.

Any debtor under a Domestic Support Obligation must notify the trustee of any change in address or employment for as long as the bankruptcy case is open.

If you have questions about the Domestic Support Obligations forms, email or call your attorney.