The first thing you have to know is that no type of bankruptcy can eliminate your child support debt. And while the automatic stay stops most other creditors from garnishing your wages while your bankruptcy case is pending, wage garnishments due to a child support order will continue even after you file bankruptcy. Child support debt is an exception to the automatic stay.
What About Overdue Child Support?
Missed child support obligations are considered an unsecured debt, but it’s a priority debt and gets special treatment. Under bankruptcy law, child support arrears get paid before other unsecured creditors, like credit card companies. It doesn’t matter how much total debt you have. Child support debt won’t be discharged with other unsecured debts in your Chapter 7 case. You’ll continue to be subject to any court order the family law court has entered against you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Affects Child Support Differently
If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debts from domestic support obligations like child support and alimony have to be paid off in full as part of the Chapter 13 plan. The bankruptcy court won’t confirm your repayment plan if it doesn’t pay off this type of debt. If you’re thinking of filing Chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure and protect real estate, it’s important to keep this in mind. If you’ve missed child support payments and mortgage payments, speak to a bankruptcy attorney about your options.