What You Need To Know About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy And Child Support
It's possible that you are having trouble paying your creditors and are considering filing for bankruptcy. You might also wonder how filing for bankruptcy will affect any child support payments you need to make. Will a Chapter 7 bankruptcy clear any back payments you are behind in? Will you still need to pay child support?
Here is some information you need to know about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and child support payments. It's always a good idea to consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney to get more in-depth information about your case before proceeding.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Doesn't Clear Back-Owed Support
If you are required to pay child support payments but have gotten behind due to serious financial constraints, you might wonder if those back payments will be cleared if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The short answer is no. You are still required to pay any child support payments you were court ordered to, including those you are behind on.
This is because child support payments are considered a priority debt. Priority debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Only unsecured debt will be discharged when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This will include any credit card debt, some medical debt, and some loans not tied to your mortgage. Priority debt can include house taxes which will also have to be paid including back taxes and will not be discharged in bankruptcy.
Talk with your bankruptcy attorney and explain your financial situation to see what laws in your state will apply in this situation. Family law does vary by state and it's important to understand what your rights are.
What Chapter 7 Can Do To Help With Child Support Payments
While Chapter 7 bankruptcy won't discharge your child support payments or clear you of any back payments you owe, it can help you in other ways. It will clear any unsecured debt you have such as credit card debt. This can help free up your funds or lower payments for the debt you need to pay back, so you can continue to pay your child support without as much hardship.
When you first file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any debt you have will receive an automatic stay. This will stop all creditors from contacting you immediately. You will need to keep paying your child support payments at this point, but because you are working through your bankruptcy with your lawyer, this will free up some funds to make those payments.