Everyone deals with financial stress at one point or another during his or her life. Some can find no way out except to file for bankruptcy (consolidating your debts). Bankruptcy is often a viable option, but sometimes the process becomes complicated - especially if you're paying child support or if you are receiving child support from an ex-spouse or partner.
If you're an ex-spouse or partner receiving child support, the good news is child support is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Likewise, if you owe back child support - no matter how much - you are still responsible for that debt.
Current and back child support is not eligible for discharge in bankruptcy - ever. Furthermore, any debts resulting from "the nature of support" are also ineligible for discharge. "In the nature of support" debts are debts resulting from your child's care and may include medical bills for your son or daughter's care.
In addition, while collection agencies and creditors are forbidden by law to contact you once you file for bankruptcy, if you're filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, action can still be taken to ensure you pay your child support. On the other hand, if you file for Chapter 13, you may receive a temporary stay of collection efforts while the bankruptcy process occurs.
Keep in mind that any stay is only temporary. Regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the fact remains that you are still responsible for all current and back payments of child support.
If you're a parent who owes child support, bankruptcy may be a viable
way for you to keep up with your payments, especially if you're
wallowing in other debts. By filing for bankruptcy, you may relieve
yourself of those debts (if you fit the criteria and file for Chapter
7) or lower those debts (if you file for Chapter 13 which requires you
to repay some or all of your debt), freeing your income to pay your
If you prefer something besides bankruptcy, you might want to consider consolidating your debts. Bankruptcy certainly isn't your only option, so you might want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss all of your options.
On the other hand, if you're an ex-spouse or partner receiving child support, you may want to consult an attorney if you're not receiving the required child support payments. Additionally, alimony payments are also ineligible for discharge in bankruptcy.
Regardless of which side of the fence you're on when it comes to child support, you should be aware that neither current or back payments owed are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Many experts advise consulting a good bankruptcy or family attorney to advise you should you consider filing for bankruptcy or if you're having trouble getting child support payments.