Can I Discharge Child Support in Bankruptcy?
If you are struggling financially and you intend to file for bankruptcy protection, it is important to understand that not all of your debt will be discharged. As soon as you file your bankruptcy case, the automatic stay goes into effect and stops all collection efforts against you. However, the law excludes certain proceedings from being stopped by the automatic stay, including many family law matters.
If you are involved in a family law matter before the court that involves issues such as child support or child custody, your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing will likely not halt it from continuing. The bankruptcy stay usually does not impact the family court from ruling on the amount of current child support or making a custody determination. However, the automatic stay can stop any rulings from being made regarding past due child support. There are some family court judges that prefer to postpone all issues until the automatic stay is no longer in effect. But, it is important to note that if a family law issue must be addressed quickly, a bankruptcy filing does not prevent them from being heard and decided.
If you are the individual filing the bankruptcy and you have been ordered by the court to pay child support or alimony, these obligations cannot be discharged or eliminated in your filing. An existing order to pay child support or spousal support continues to accrue while your bankruptcy case is pending. Thus, if you have been ordered to pay $200 per month for child support, you will still owe that amount during and after your bankruptcy case.
If you are the individual who receives the child support payments and you are filing for bankruptcy, the child support payments are exempted from being included in your estate. In other words, the trustee is prohibited from using your child support payments to pay your creditors.
Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Men’s Divorce Law Firm. Our office is located in Orlando, Florida, but we proudly serve husbands and fathers across the State.