Bankruptcy and its impact on family support obligations

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Family Law

Bankruptcy can bring many changes to your financial life. It can provide relief from overwhelming debt and a chance to start fresh. However, certain responsibilities remain unchanged, even in bankruptcy. If you have spousal or child support obligations, it’s important to know how the process affects them.

Understanding bankruptcy types

There are different types of bankruptcy, and the type you file can affect your obligations differently. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common. In Chapter 7, many of your debts get discharged, meaning you no longer have to pay them. In Chapter 13, you set up a repayment plan to pay off some of your debts over time.

Child support obligations

Child support is a priority debt in bankruptcy. This means you can’t file to get it discharged or eliminated. You must continue to pay child support as usual. If you are behind on payments, you must still pay the past-due amount. Filing for bankruptcy does not erase these arrears. Your bankruptcy repayment plan in Chapter 13 must include provisions to pay back any overdue child support.

Spousal support obligations

Spousal support, often called alimony, is also a priority debt. Like child support, you can’t have it discharged in bankruptcy. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must continue to make these payments. If you owe past-due spousal support, you must include this debt in your repayment plan if you file under Chapter 13.

Moving forward with financial stability

Bankruptcy provides a chance to restructure your financial life. While it doesn’t eliminate your support obligations, it can offer a clearer path to managing your debts and fulfilling your responsibilities.