Bankruptcy provides a fresh start for many people who have accrued unsecured debts. However, bankruptcy laws consider child support to be a priority debt, meaning it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. People who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will have to include any outstanding child support obligations in their mandatory repayment plan, and those filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are not protected from bill collectors and lawsuits that seek payment of child support debt.
Should I File for Bankruptcy If I Am Behind on Child Support Payments?
While filing bankruptcy does not discharge your past child support debts, it can still help you if you are behind on child support. Although you will still need to make ongoing child support payments during the course of your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, either option can clear away some of your other debts and allow you to put more of your income towards child support.
Benefits of filing for bankruptcy when you owe back child support include:
- Increased debt forgiveness. Child support payments are usually a fixed, non-negotiable amount, which can reduce the amount you are able to pay to other creditors. Most bankruptcy courts forgive a large portion of debt, allowing your money go to your children.
- Dedicated payment plans. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires an organized repayment plan to ensure that you do not fall behind on payments to your creditors you want, such as a house or a car. These plans help many people stay on track financially, allowing them to stay current on the mortgage, car note, and utilities as well as child support.
- Future planning. If you stay current on your regular child support payments and have paid back all of the child support you owe, the rest of your debts will be discharged in bankruptcy, allowing you more financial freedom.
We can help you decide which bankruptcy option is right for you. Call us today or fill out the contact information to speak to a Georgia bankruptcy attorney about your situation.