As a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer, we help clients to get out from under debt. A common question asked by people who are considering filing for bankruptcy is whether or not child support debt in Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains, or they can get some kind of relief in order to get caught up.  With family law courts imposing heavy penalties, and government agencies going after people who owe back child support, it is common for parents or divorcees to get behind on child support.

As a result, this could lead to financial challenges and many times leads to the need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, it is important to note that when it comes to child support debt in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will not discharge the obligations. It can, however, help a person to get caught up.

A priority debt

Child support has been deemed by the United States Congress, to be a priority debt because of public policy concerns. The unfortunate part of this when it comes to a person who is severely in debt is that a priority debt cannot be eliminated by a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Rather, they must pay off any outstanding child support payments that they have missed in full through the chapter 13 repayment plan and the trustee will make sure that these payments are included in any repayment schedule.

As a result, if the intention of the person filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to avoid making missed support, it is important to note again that child support debt in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cannot be eliminated. However, if it is the intention of the person filing for the bankruptcy to get caught up, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows them to get caught up on missed child support payments.

Helping to organize

One of the main benefits of having a bankruptcy lawyer file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not relate to child support debt. Rather, Chapter 13 allows for a person to reorganize their debts and reduce the amount of payments that will need to be made to unsecured creditors. As a result, people often find that this frees up additional funds which allows them to get caught up on back child support while discharging more of the other unsecured debt.

Any pre-bankruptcy child support arrears must be included and paid off in the Chapter 13 plan. With a structured plan in place, however, this is extremely helpful to get people on track and pay back child support. Speak with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer concerning child support debt to get a more detailed understanding of the process and what priority debts are.

Ongoing payments

One crucial element that many people often misunderstand is the fact that the bankruptcy court expects the father to continue to pay ongoing child support payments. Chapter 13 bankruptcy only allows the filer to cure the pre-bankruptcy child support arrears through the plan.  In fact, a person has to be current on child support payments in order to receive the discharge.

Schedule a consultation

For more detailed information on how exactly child support debt in Chapter 13 bankruptcy plays out, it is strongly advisable to speak with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer who specializes in these kinds of discharges. Call our office to speak with one.

Note: This is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.