Child Support in Bankruptcy
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Child Support in Bankruptcy

If you are struggling with debt and considering relieving your financial pain through bankruptcy, you may be curious about what happens to child support payments in bankruptcy.

As a general rule, child support obligations cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy may eliminate a wide range of other debts, potentially freeing up money that could be used for child support payments.

To connect with a local bankruptcy attorney for more information about child support in bankruptcy, fill out the free case evaluation form below.

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Child Support for the Bankruptcy Filer

Court-ordered child support responsibilities usually remain intact after a bankruptcy. In addition, overdue child support payments also survive the bankruptcy process.

When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, though, an individual may be able to discharge a wide range of unsecured debts, including:

  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debt
  • Payday loans
  • Some personal loans

Chapter 7 is designed for filers with limited income, and may be well suited for parents who recently lost their job or are facing unexpected medical expenses.

On the other hand, if filers instead opt for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is designed for people with steady incomes, they may be able to reorganize their debts into a more reasonable payment plan.

Whether filers choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, they may be able to settle their debt issues, allowing them to make child support payments without worrying about losing their own financial freedom.

Child Support for the Non-Filing Party in Bankruptcy

If, instead of filing for bankruptcy, you are hoping to receive child support payments from someone else who is filing, you may be concerned about your child's future finances.

Fortunately, bankruptcy is designed to protect child support payments. While the automatic stay stops many collection actions, it usually does not prevent people from tying to collect child support from their former spouse or partner.

Moreover, recent changes to bankruptcy law in 2005 state that:

  • Unpaid child support and alimony claims have preference over all other claims, so the bankruptcy filer must meet these obligations first.
  • In order to ensure payment, the ex-spouse of a bankruptcy filer must file a proof of claim with the bankruptcy court.

The mechanics of a proof of claim are relatively straight-forward, but you may wish to speak with a local attorney to determine the best course of action.

For more information on child support in bankruptcy, whether you are a filer or the former spouse of someone who has filed bankruptcy, contact a local bankruptcy lawyer today.

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