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What happens to child support during personal bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Consumer bankruptcy |

When someone’s financial obligations exceed their household income, they may rapidly accrue debt. If they cannot even make the necessary minimum monthly payments on their debts, they could be at risk of lawsuits and other enforcement actions depending on the nature of their unmet financial responsibilities.

Child support can be one of the most expensive obligations an individual must regularly meet. People might be subject to an order requiring hundreds of dollars in payments per week depending on the number of children they have and their income.

Falling behind on child support could put someone at risk of many different enforcement actions, including incarceration. Can filing bankruptcy help get out from under child support debt?

Child support isn’t usually eligible for discharge

Many unsecured debts are eligible for discharge during personal bankruptcy proceedings. Even debts that people cannot discharge, like car loans, are sometimes eligible for renegotiation.

A personal bankruptcy filing usually does not lead to the discharge of past-due child support obligations, nor does it automatically reduce what someone owes. The family courts generally expect people to continue making child support payments regardless of a bankruptcy filing. However, bankruptcy can potentially benefit those struggling to make child support payments by reducing their other financial obligations.

The automatic stay on collection activity for personal debts and the discharge of other financial responsibilities might make it easier for someone to balance their budget and make their child support payments in full after their bankruptcy. Understanding how bankruptcy affects different financial obligations can benefit those struggling to deal with overwhelming debt.