This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The liability of one for the support of his wife and children is not a debt and is certainly not provable.1 Accordingly, the an order of court requiring payment for the support of minor children ;8 nor a judgment in bastardy requiring the putative father to pay a certain monthly sum to the mother of the child for its support.9 However, a final judgment for the total amount due under a prior order directing a putative father to make certainly monthly payments to his bastard child has been held to be barred by his discharge in bankruptcy.10 Liability of a father to reimburse a wife for money expended by her in support of their minor child has been held to be an ordinary debt and hence barred by discharge.11
2 Reitz v. People, 72 111. 435: Be-gein v. Brehm, 123 Ind. 160; 23 N. E. 496; Bouie v. Prickett, 7 Humph. (Term.) 169.
3 Hayer v. Comstoek, 115 la. 187; 88 N. W. 351. (The note was here listed and proved in bankruptcy.)
4 Carey v. Meyer, 79 Fed. 926; Irons v. Bank, 27 Fed. 591; Marr v. Bank, 4 Lea (Tenn.) 578.
5 Irons v. Bank, 27 Fed. 591.
6 Carey v. Mayer. 79 Fed. 926. In this ease A had subscribed to capital stock in a corporation and had not paid the corporation fully therefor. The corporation became insolvent and made an assignment for the benefit of creditors. A then filed a petition in bankruptcy and obtained a discharge. Then a call was made for payment on stock. It was held that A's discharge in bankruptcy was a bar to liability for such stock.
7 Old Colony, etc., Co. v. Adams Co., 183 Mass. 557; 67 X. E. 870; First National Bank v. Mfg. Co., 127 Mass. 563.
1 Menzie v. Anderson, 65 Ind. 239; Romaine v. Chauncey, 129 N. Y. 566; 26 Am. St. Rep. 544; 14 L. R. A. 712; 29 N. F. 826. "Alimony does not arise from any business transaction, but from the relation weight of authority including the Supreme Court of the United States,2 has held that the liability of one to support his wife, even if such liability has resulted in a decree of alimony,3 are not barred by a discharge in bankruptcy. The fact that the decree of alimony is for a lump sum payable in installments,4 or that the discharge is sought as against over-due installments,5 does not alter the rule. A contract by A to pay a certain sum annually to his divorced wife as long as she remains unmarried, and to support their two children till they came of age is not barred by A's discharge in bankruptcy.6 The value of the wife's interest under the contract depending, as it does, on the double contingency of remarriage or death is impossible to ascertain,7 and his liability to support his children being a " contract to do that which the law obliged him to do " could not be barred by such discharge. So a discharge does not bar of marriage. It is not founded on contract, express or implied, but on the natural and legal duty of the husband to support the wife. The general obligation to support is made specific by the decree of the court of appropriate jurisdiction." Audubon v. Shufeldt, 181 U. S. 575, 577.
2 Audubon v. Shufeldt, 181 U. S. 575. .
3 In re Hawkins (1894), 1 Q. B. 25; Kerr v. Kerr (1897), 2 Q. B. 439; Linton v. Linton, L. R. 15 Q. B. Div. 239; Turner v. Turner. 108 Fed. 785; In re Nowell. 99 Fed. 931; In re Anderson, 97 Fed. 321; In re Shepard, 97 Fed. 187; Welty v. Welty, 195 111. 335; 88 Am. St. Rep. 208; 63 N. E. 161; Deen v. Bloomer, 191 111. 416; 61 N. E. 131; Barclay v. Barclay, 184 111. 375; 51 L. R. A. 351; 56 N. E. 636; Lemert v. Lemert, 25 Ohio C. C. 253; Noyes v. Hubbard, 64 Vt. 302; 33 Am. St. Rep. 928; 15 L. R. A. 394; 23 Atl. 727. Contra, In re Houston. 94 Fed. 119; In re Van Orden. Pfi Fed 86:
In re Challoner, 98 Fed. 82 (overdue installments under an Illinois decree) ; Fite v. Fite, 110 Ky. 197; 53 L. R. A. 265; 61 S. W. 26 (where the state law makes it an ordinary debt) ; Arrington v. Ar-rington, 131 N. C. 143; 92 Am. St. Rep. 769; 42 S. E. 554. (This last case was so decided because the court had already decided that this decree was a final judgment, Ar? rington v. Arrington. 127 N. C. 190; 80 Am. St. Rep. 791; 52 L. R. A. 201; 37 S. E. 212, and they held themselves bound by such decision to treat a subsequent discharge in bankruptcy as barring such decree. The original decree of alimony was rendered in Illinois.)
4 Welty v. Welty, 195 111. 335; 88 Am. St. Rep. 208; 63 N. E. 161.
5 Audubon v. Shufeldt, 181 U. S. 575; In re Anderson, 97 Fed. 321.
6 Dunbar v. Dunbar, 190 U. S. 340; affirming 180 Mass. 170; 94 Am. St. Rep. 623; 62 N. E. 248.
7 See also Mudge v. Rowan, L. R. 3 Ex. 85.