How Does Filing for Bankruptcy Affect Child Support Obligations?

Published On: February 25, 2021Categories: Bankruptcy

Hudson Valley area bankruptcy attorney

When you are struggling with excessive debt, any additional expenses can start to feel like impossible burdens. Unfortunately, this may include child support obligations stemming from a divorce or paternity judgment. Regardless of how much you may wish to contribute to your child’s financial support, you may find yourself wondering whether it is possible to obtain relief from child support obligations along with other debts by filing for bankruptcy.

Can Child Support Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

When a person files for bankruptcy, they are able to have a variety of debts discharged provided that they fulfill their responsibilities. Dischargeable debts include mortgages, vehicle loans, personal loans, medical debt, and credit card debt, among others. However, they do not include child support obligations for either delinquent or future payments, nor do they include other domestic support obligations like spousal maintenance or alimony. This means that even after the bankruptcy process is complete, a pre-existing obligation to pay child support or spousal support will remain.

With this in mind, relief from child support or spousal maintenance obligations should under no circumstances be your primary motivation for filing for bankruptcy. However, if you determine that bankruptcy is your best option to obtain relief from other debts, you may find that it helps you to fulfill your domestic support obligations as well. For example, after discharging most debt through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to allocate the required share of your income to paying child support rather than having to worry about other liabilities. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can include child support and maintenance in your repayment plan to help you get all of your financial obligations under control.

Obtaining Relief Through Child Support Modifications

If you are finding it difficult to pay child support or spousal maintenance and filing for bankruptcy is not a viable option, you may instead be able to obtain relief through a modification to your support order. Typically, this requires that you have undergone a substantial change in circumstances since the most recent version of the order was issued. For example, you may have lost your job or developed an injury or health condition that has increased your medical expenses or reduced your earning capacity. To pursue a modification, you will need to file a petition with the county court and prepare to present your reasoning for requesting a change.

Contact a Rockland County Bankruptcy Attorney

When you have concerns about child support and other financial obligations, you need an attorney who has experience with both family law and bankruptcy law. At the Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C., we can help you understand the legal and financial implications of your situation and identify the best option for moving forward. Contact a Hudson Valley bankruptcy lawyer today at 845-358-7100 to schedule a free consultation.