If you file for bankruptcy, you CANNOT discharge past due child support payments as a debt. Filing for bankruptcy does stop collection on debts for the short term, but you will eventually have to pay them.

If I File for Bankruptcy, Will Paying Past Due Child Support be a High Priority?

Debts for family support and child support have very high priority over other kinds of debts. If it cannot be paid immediately, the amount owed will not disappear. It will have to be paid back as soon as possible. Additionally, if the bankrupt parent has property that is exempt from creditors, it can still be seized and used to pay off back child support.

If I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Have My Child Support Order Modified?

If you file for bankruptcy, it is very unlikely that you will be able to have your child support payments modified. Modifications in child support payments are allowed, but only if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that would warrant a reduction. It is unlikely that a court would consider bankruptcy a significant change in a parent’s circumstances so long as the parent still has a job. However, if a non-custodial parent is really having difficulty making child support payments, they may be able to avoid paying any child support arrears by obtaining a child support waiver.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Bankruptcy and Child Support Issue?

If you or the other parent of your child is planning to file for bankruptcy, you should consider consulting a lawyer. Consulting with an experienced child support lawyer will help you understand your rights and help you deal with the complicated court system.