Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?

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Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not wipe away any obligation to pay child support. Court hearings to establish and to collect overdue payments will proceed and child support obligations will continue even if you believe you are financially strained.

Child Support Collections Will Continue

Despite most legal proceedings receiving an automatic stay during a bankruptcy proceeding, a child support proceeding will be heard. In other words, most civil damages court cases will be put on paused when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, any child support filings against you will not be put on hold and will be heard in a timely fashion.

Child support debt may be collected from any property that is not part of the bankruptcy proceeding. Normally, any income or property obtained after filing for bankruptcy is not part of the bankruptcy proceeding. Thus, a child support debt collector can and will go after that income.

Child Support Debt Will Not Be Wiped Out

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not wipe out any existing child support debt that you have. Additionally, you will need to continue to make your future child support payments and any overdue payments. So, even if all your other debts are discharged during the bankruptcy proceeding, you will still need to pay off your child support debt.

Current Child Support Payments Must Be Paid

During the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, you must continue to pay your monthly child support payments. If you fall behind your payments, the custodial parent can file a lawsuit to collect that money. Nonetheless, the Chapter 7 proceeding will act as an automatic stay for all your other debts to give your more money to pay your child support obligations.

Child Support Debt Has Priority

Child support is considered a priority debt, and will be paid out before most other debts. It will be paid before unsecured debts such as medical bills and credit card. Furthermore, custodial parents will not have to file a separate lawsuit to collect on this debt; it will be combined with your bankruptcy suit. 

Consulting an Attorney

If you have any concerns about the fairness of the child support payments you owe or are looking to modify your child support order, then please consult a child support attorney. The attorney will help you straighten out legal obligations.

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Last Modified: 02-19-2015 12:23 PM PST

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