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Do I still have to pay Child Support if I file for bankruptcy?

One concern that filers for bankruptcy have is what their legal obligations are to their child or former spouse? Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I File Bankruptcy?  The short answer is an emphatic “yes”.

Child Support is a non-dischargeable debt.  Child support debt receives special treatment because it is considered a priority debt. Priority debts are nondischargeable in bankruptcy. This means that if you owe any outstanding child support debt, it will not get wiped out by your bankruptcy discharge. As a result, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not eliminate your obligation to pay child support and/or make up any missed payments.

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you’ll agree to a three- to five-year repayment plan that will allow you to catch up on your overdue debts while you stay current on other debts. Included in these debts should be any child support payments you owe.

In fact, Family/Probate Court matters are not automatically stayed by a bankruptcy filing. They can and usually will continue regardless of the status of your bankruptcy. Any awards issued by the Family/Probate Court in a divorce or subsequent related legal proceeding will survive your bankruptcy. If your sole reason for filing a bankruptcy is to discharge unpaid child support, think again . . . it is not a solution to your problem.

Bankruptcy cannot change what you owe in child support but it can free you from low-priority debts which will allow you to have more money for child support payments. In the case that you work or living situation puts you in a circumstance where you can no longer afford child support at the rate you are currently paying contact a family court lawyer to discuss payment modification