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Bankruptcy and Child Support: FAQs 

Aug. 17, 2022

Bankruptcy gives many Americans the fresh financial start they so desperately need. If you pay child support and are thinking about bankruptcy, there are important things to consider. Below are some of the most common questions and answers about bankruptcy and child support obligations.  

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Paying Child Support?  

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate most or all of your debts if approved. However, bankruptcy does not eliminate your child support requirements. Additional factors to keep in mind:  

  • The automatic stay does not stop the accrual of your child support.  

  • The bankruptcy trustee overseeing your case is required to report on child support.  

  • When there is money to pay your creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will pay arrears in child support first.  

  • If you declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’re responsible for child support when the case is finalized.  

  • If you declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’re required to pay off your child support arrears in three to five years.  

How Does the Bankruptcy Court View Child Support Income?  

Child support payments are considered income. That’s why child support is listed on the bankruptcy means test form. Therefore, when filing for bankruptcy, it’s essential to list child support on income on Schedule I.  

Can the Bankruptcy Court Deny My Case Because I Owe Child Support?  

No. The court cannot deny your bankruptcy case because you have child support debt. The bankruptcy will go forward. The court can deny your bankruptcy if you commit fraud or hide assets.  

How Does the Automatic Stay Affect Child Support?  

The automatic stay is a significant plus in declaring bankruptcy. When you file, the bankruptcy court orders your creditors to stop all debt collection activities. As a result, creditors cannot contact you or file lawsuits against you while the bankruptcy is pending.  

However, the automatic stay does not stop the collection of child support. Only the court that sets up your child support payments can make any changes. Therefore, regardless of bankruptcy, your child support obligations remain.  

Can Debts 'in the Nature of Support’ for Children Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?  

When filing for bankruptcy, debts ‘in the nature of support’ may not be discharged. These debts are those incurred related to a child’s upbringing and welfare, except for unpaid child support.  

For instance, if there are medical bills for healthcare the child received, bankruptcy doesn’t cancel that debt.  

Bankruptcy and child support obligations are complex, but your St. Louis bankruptcy attorney can smooth things out for you.  

Call a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney Today  

Are you considering bankruptcy and paying child support? A St. Louis bankruptcy attorney can review your legal options with you. AKS Law has more than 10 years of assisting people with filing for bankruptcy. Please dial (314) 866-3955 for more information.