From: Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, National Consumer Law Center
Answers to Common Bankruptcy Questions
A decision to file for bankruptcy should be made only after determining that bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your financial problems. This FAQ cannot explain every aspect of the bankruptcy process. If you still have questions after reading it you should consult with an attorney familiar with bankruptcy.
Once you have paid all the upfront fees you have been quoted and provided us with all the documents we have requested from you, we will set you an appointment to sign your petition and at that time, once you have reviewed all the paperwork thoroughly and signed where required, we will file the petition with the court. At this time, and not before, you will have all the protections given by federal law against collection, repossession and foreclosure as well as from being sued in state court for nonpayment.
Child and/or spousal support is not dischargeable in either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 case.
If you are under a court order to pay child or spousal support when you file a either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13, you will be required to continue to make the monthly payments and not fall behind during the case. If you do fall behind in your payments during the time you are in the case and you do not catch all of the payments up by the end of your case, then you will not be eligible to receive a discharge.
No matter what you have heard from your neighbors, friends, relatives and those late night TV commercials paid for by tax relief firms, many taxes are actually dischargeable in bankruptcy which may mean that you will not have to pay most of what you owe.