If you need to pay child support but lack the finances to do so, you may be in a challenging spot. You want to take care of your child, but certain circumstances are affecting your ability to do so. In such an instance, you may decide to file for bankruptcy.
Will this affect your child support payments? Here is what you need to know:
Child support arrearages cannot be discharged
Whether you file for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, child support debts cannot be discharged. The court considers child support a priority debt that is non-dischargeable. Accordingly, you may need to catch up with unpaid months and continue with future payments.
If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, child support payments may be added to your repayment plan. If you file Chapter 7, erasing your unsecured debts and eliminating those payments can free up money that you can put toward your support obligation.
So, how will bankruptcy help you?
Declaring bankruptcy relieves you from some debts, which means you may have funds to pay child support since you won’t be distributing what you get to cover so many different debts.
If you can’t fulfill your current child support order, it may help to request a modification so that you aren’t climbing deeper into debt with each passing month. This is especially true if you expect a long-term reduction in your monthly income due to a job loss, illness or something similar.
Filing for bankruptcy may not directly impact your child support payments, but you will notice its benefits down the line. Experienced legal guidance can help you make the right choices.