No. Whether you’re receiving or paying child support, a bankruptcy filing will not affect it. If you’re owed back child support, it’s an asset.
What Happens To Back Child Support I’m Owed?
Because it’s money someone owes you, it’s listed as an asset on your Schedule A/B and considered a part of the bankruptcy estate. It will appear in response to Question 29. Most states provide some kind of exemption to protect past-due child support. If you’re using the federal bankruptcy exemptions, any back child support you’re owed is protected.
Even if your state’s law doesn’t provide any kind of protection for child support, it’s not likely that the bankruptcy trustee will try to recover it. After all, if the family court and child support enforcement agency can’t collect it, there’s little chance that the trustee is able to recover any funds.
How Does The Court View The Child Support Income I Received Before Filing?
It’s considered income, so it’s listed on the means test form. Don’t include missed child support payments in your means test calculation. If you’ve been getting payments regularly and expect ongoing child support payments to continue, you’ll also have to list it as income on your Schedule I.
If you’ve saved some or all of the child support income you received before filing, that money is considered property of the bankruptcy estate. As long as you didn’t mix the funds with other income by keeping them in a separate account, the exemptions you’re using will likely still cover them. If there’s a lot of money in the account, it can’t hurt to schedule a free consultation with a local bankruptcy lawyer just to make sure.
What About The Child Support Income I Receive After Filing?
Just like any other income, child support income you receive after your bankruptcy case has been filed with the court is yours to keep. The ongoing bankruptcy proceedings won't change that.
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