Bankruptcy and Child Support Enforcement
- February 19, 2014
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You may become concerned about your child support payments if you learn that your ex-spouse is filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy after your divorce, especially if you are the custodial parent. If this is the case, there is no reason to worry as the law protects a child’s right to his or her child support payments which are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy proceeding. With regard to the vast majority of debts, filing for bankruptcy will provide a debtor with instant relief in the form of the automatic stay. The automatic stay prevents creditors from continuing to contact a debtor regarding outstanding debts as soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed with the appropriate court. Although, there are exceptions to the automatic stay to prevent ex-spouses from avoiding their obligations under their divorce judgment. The automatic stay does not relieve a debtor from their legal obligations to pay child support or alimony. According to the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. Section 507, child support and alimony payments are given a higher priority compared to other debts and therefore, a non-custodial parent is not allowed to get out of paying his or her child support simply by filing for bankruptcy. In addition, an ex-spouse filing for bankruptcy may actually be beneficial to the custodial parent. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, a debtor must disclosure all of his or her financial information such as debts, income, and assets to the court. Therefore, he or she will be unable to conceal any income or assets that they may be receiving which can factor into potential modifications of alimony or child support amounts. If you are having trouble dealing with your consumer debt issues and you need information regarding how filing for bankruptcy may affect your other legal obligations such as spousal support or child support it is imperative that you seek the advice of experienced legal counsel to advise you on these issues. For more information on Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how bankruptcy will affect your credit, foreclosure or any other consumer debt issues visit TheNJBankruptcyAttorney.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.