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How bankruptcy affects child support payments

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Bankruptcy

Child support obligations affect the finances of those who have divorced or who have children outside of marriage. Someone who has limited parenting time or who makes substantially more money than the other adult in the family may need to make child support payments to fulfill their parental responsibilities.

Allocating a portion of one’s income toward child support can create significant financial strain. Some people may have a hard time balancing their budgets. They may fall behind on rent or credit card payments. They might even struggle to make their minimum child support payments if their income changes or they temporarily lose their job.

Someone who has fallen behind on child support in Tennessee is at risk of enforcement efforts. Can someone use a personal bankruptcy filing to take control of their overwhelming child support responsibilities?

Child support is a priority debt

Many types of financial obligations are eligible for discharge in a successful bankruptcy filing. People can eliminate medical debts or past-due credit card balances if they complete the bankruptcy process. Some debts are not eligible for discharge. Child support is one such financial obligation.

Regardless of how stressful someone’s financial situation has become, they cannot eliminate their past-due child support by discharging that debt. Additionally, bankruptcy alone typically isn’t enough to convince a Tennessee family law judge to modify a child support order.

However, bankruptcy can be beneficial for those struggling financially because of child support responsibilities. The benefits of bankruptcy include an automatic stay to prevent collection activity from other creditors and the elimination of other financial obligations. A successful bankruptcy filing could help someone rework their budget to consistently meet their child support obligations.

If someone files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that could help them manage a past-due child support balance. That debt can be part of their repayment plan through the courts, which can make a major difference for someone who cannot seem to catch up on their child support responsibilities.

Even though bankruptcy doesn’t end child support obligations or discharge past-due child support, it can help someone regain control of their finances. Discussing child support and other financial stressors can help someone determine if bankruptcy might be the best option in their case. A timely bankruptcy filing could help, in a somewhat roundabout way, protect someone from the sometimes harsh enforcement efforts used against those who do not make child support payments in full and on time.