Filing for bankruptcy is an important step when your debt is out of control. It’s a big decision–and the biggest benefit is that it will wipe much of your debt away, making it easier for you to arrange your finances.
When you file for bankruptcy, however, does it eliminate child support debt? How does it impact your child support? Understanding how your bankruptcy will impact your child support payments can help you better prepare for life after bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Does Not Automatically Change Child Support Payments
If you must file for bankruptcy, child support does not stop coming due each month. You cannot negotiate reduced child support when you file for bankruptcy, and your child support payments will continue to come due each month until your child no longer needs your financial support. Child support is intended to help pay for your child’s needs: their clothing, food, medical expenses, school and activity expenses, and other costs associated with successfully raising a child. For that reason, filing for bankruptcy does not make your obligation to your child disappear.
What You Can Do
If you need to decrease your child support payments due to changed financial circumstances–a job loss, for example–consider going back to court to reevaluate your child support payments. Typically, child support is based on a percentage of your income, so if your income has gone down, your financial responsibility to your children may go down, as well. Keep in mind, however, that the expenses associated with paying for your children haven’t gone down–and your child’s other parent may need your help to pay for those important bills. Talk with a lawyer to help you better understand your financial obligation based on your changed circumstances.
Bankruptcy Will Not Wipe Away Past Due Child Support
Sometimes, when your finances spiral out of control, you may get behind on your child support payments. Like many of the other payments you must make each month, it may seem impossible to make those payments and pay the other bills you need to live. Can filing for bankruptcy help you wipe away past due child support?
Child support is considered a priority debt: that is, it’s not possible to wipe it away by simply filing for bankruptcy. If you owe back child support to your child’s other parent, you will still need to catch up that past due support.
What You Can Do – Contact Walker & Walker Today!
Has past due child support become overwhelming? There is not a statute of limitations on those payments, so if you have gotten behind, it’s better to make them up sooner rather than later. On the other hand, if your child’s other parent is willing to negotiate, you may be able to reduce the amount you owe them by going before the court and negotiating those payments. Talk with your former spouse to see if they are willing to release you from that obligation. Taking your child’s other parent to court likely won’t reduce your child support obligation, since the courts will usually require you to pay off past due child support. In some cases, however–such as drastically changed income–you may be able to apply to reduce that financial burden. Talk with a lawyer to get a better understanding of how your changed circumstances could potentially change your child support burden.
Are you struggling to understand what bankruptcy will mean for you, including what obligations you still must keep up with after your bankruptcy? We can help you better navigate the road to better financial security. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you file for bankruptcy and better develop better financial habits for the future.