Parenting can be tough, and it’s even harder when you’re facing financial difficulties. Struggling with debt and bankruptcy can cause significant stress and anxiety, which can impact your ability to provide for your child. Regardless of the reason for your financial struggles, one question that may be troubling you is what will happen to your child support obligations during a bankruptcy filing.
What should you know about how bankruptcy affects child support obligations and what do you need to know to ensure that your child support payments are still being fulfilled?
Bankruptcy Won’t Discharge Child Support Obligations
Filing for bankruptcy won’t absolve you from paying child support. Even though bankruptcy is designed to eliminate your debts, child support is a legal obligation that cannot be discharged. In other words, the court will not forgive you for paying your child support even if you have filed for bankruptcy. You must ensure that your child support payments are still being made on time, regardless of your financial situation.
Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
The type of bankruptcy you file for will determine the impact it has on your child support obligations. Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy where your assets are sold to pay off your debts. If you have significant debt and little to no income, filing for Chapter 7 may be the best option for you. However, since child support isn’t dischargeable, it will take priority over other debts you owe.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your debts and create a repayment plan over three to five years. This type of bankruptcy may be more manageable for parents who have ongoing child support obligations as it allows them to keep their assets while still fulfilling their legal obligations.
Automatic Stay and Child Support Obligations
When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, preventing creditors from collecting debts. This includes child support. However, you still have a legal obligation to pay any outstanding child support you owe. The stay only temporarily prevents any further actions to collect any outstanding child support debt while your case is pending.
Seek Legal Help
Navigating bankruptcy while still fulfilling child support obligations can be complicated. This is particularly true if you are unsure of your rights and obligations. Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy law is the best course of action. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and obligations. They’ll guide you through the bankruptcy process to ensure that your child support payments continue to be fulfilled.
Bankruptcy can impact your child support obligations. However, the legal obligation to pay will not be eliminated, regardless of the type of bankruptcy you file. It’s essential to remain current with your payments and seek legal help to ensure that your obligations are still being fulfilled during the bankruptcy process. Your child’s well-being should always be your top priority. Fulfilling your child support obligations is just one step to ensuring that they are taken care of.