Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I File Bankruptcy?
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Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I File Bankruptcy?

One concern some potential bankruptcy filers might have is their legal obligations of spousal and/or child support if they should file a bankruptcy petition.

The short answer to the question of whether child support payments are required of those who file bankruptcy is "yes."

BUT, if you file Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and get your other debts resolved, you should be able to better afford those important payments.


Child Support Payments in Bankruptcy

  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy: If you choose to file under the "reorganization" type of personal bankruptcy, you'll agree to a three- to five-year repayment plan that will allow you to catch up on your overdue debts while you stay current on other debts. Included in these debts should be any child support payments you owe.
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy: This type of personal bankruptcy offers filers a full discharge of all eligible unsecured debts; however, child support is not dischargeable in Chapter 7. This is because child support payments are intended to maintain a human life and are thus highly prioritized by the bankruptcy court. However, by eliminating certain debts, Chapter 7 could make it easier to make monthly child support payments.

What If I Can't Afford Child Support Any More?

If you are currently unable to afford your child support payments along with your other financial obligations, bankruptcy may still be able to help you, but it's important to note that every case is different. If you want a definitive answer about how your child support payments will be affected if you file bankruptcy, you can contact a bankruptcy lawyer.

That said, here's a look at some potential ways bankruptcy might affect your payment obligation.

  • Elimination of other financial obligations: By freeing you from low-priority debts, bankruptcy may be able to free up more of your money for child support payments.
  • No modification of your child support payments: Bankruptcy cannot change what you owe in child support. If you are one of the many Americans whose income has been affected by the recession and you can no longer afford the child support payments you are expected to make, you may want to contact a divorce or family court lawyer to discuss payment modifications.

Wondering if bankruptcy is the right option for you? Discuss your situation with a local bankruptcy attorney. See if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 could be the right debt relief solution for you by arranging a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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