Child Support and Bankruptcy

If you are the paying parent and you are considering bankruptcy, you should understand that bankruptcy does not discharge your child support obligations. Similarly if you are the receiving parent and the paying parent is filing for bankruptcy, you should understand how the bankruptcy filing will affect you. This section contains the answers to frequently asked questions on bankruptcy and child support.

Q: The paying parent has filed for bankruptcy and has informed me that filing for bankruptcy stays child support.

A: Child support will survive bankruptcy. The paying parent will continue to be liable for child support payments. Filing for bankruptcy results in an automatic stay but this stay will not apply to child support payments. Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Q: Will bankruptcy wipe out past due child support?

A: Bankruptcy does not wipe out past due child support. The obligation to pay past due child support will remain despite the bankruptcy filing.

Q: Bankruptcy law says that debts in the nature of support for children can be discharged. Can I use this provision to discharge child support?

A: Debts “in the nature of support” for a child refer to debts incurred for the child’s upbringing and welfare. So if you have incurred medical expenses for the child, then it will be a debt in the nature of support for the child and bankruptcy will discharge your obligation for that debt. Child support is not a debt in the nature of support for a child.

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