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Bankruptcy and Child Support: Important Facts

No matter how much money you make, going through a divorce can be financially devastating and may leave you needing to file for bankruptcy. You never thought you’d be in this position but after the divorce was finalized your financial status drastically shifted and on top of it all, you’re now required to make monthly child support payments.

Supporting your children and taking care of their needs was never an issue when you were still married. Unfortunately, the perils of divorce and the associated fees have left you financially inept and resulted in months of unpaid child support.

Will filing for bankruptcy discharge child support debt?

If you’re considering bankruptcy as a means to help you out of having to make back-payments on child support, think again. Congress does not allow bankruptcy to discharge child support debt because they believe it is too important.

In most cases, child support debt becomes priority debt and must be paid in full through your bankruptcy re-payment plan.

Can child support payments be modified during bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy does not automatically lower your monthly child support payments. The only way to adjust child support payments is by filing a motion to modify. A judge will evaluate your new financial position and base their decision on what they believe is fair.

Can child support debt help wipe out other debts in bankruptcy?

Most parents who find themselves in this situation would much prefer to help their children by paying child support debts over other accumulated debts. In most bankruptcy cases, having child support debt could lessen the amount you owe on other unsecured debts (i.e. medical debt, student debt, credit card debt, etc.).

Do child support debts need to be paid before other debts?

The short answer is yes. As stated above, child support debts are considered priority debts. Priority debts must be paid before any other unsecured debts. Even though tax debts are also considered a priority debt, child support still takes precedent and must be paid first.

How can a bankruptcy lawyer help?

You’ve been through a divorce, so you understand the complexities of these situations. An experienced attorney can be your greatest asset when dealing with a major life change, like filing for bankruptcy. They will be able to guide you through the process, answer questions along the way and prepare you for what comes next.