Many of my clients ask how child support payments and alimony are impacted by filing for bankruptcy. While Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy will discharge your other debts, neither will eliminate your obligation to pay child support.
Don’t worry, filing for bankruptcy can still help with your support payments, especially if your child support payments and alimony are in arrears and a garnishment is going to be used to collect from you. Filing bankruptcy will allow you to discharge other debts. For example, if you have large credit card debt or medical bills, discharging this debt will free up your money to pay your child support.
While your bankruptcy case is pending it is important for you to continue making your child support payments and alimony. The automatic stay that is part of a Chapter 7 filing does not halt or affect certain types of family support actions, including collection actions for child support or alimony. In addition, the automatic stay does not apply to legal actions to establish a child support order or to modify a child support order.
When it comes to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, child support payments and alimony are considered to be a priority claim. This means that they must be paid in full over the term of your Chapter 13 plan which is typically between 3 to 5 years. All past due child support payments and alimony must be paid before any of your unsecured creditors will be paid. This allows people who are severely delinquent on their support payments to get caught up and regain control over their finances.
Be sure to consult with an experienced NJ bankruptcy attorney to learn more about how Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can impact your child support payments and alimony. There is life after bankruptcy and it starts here. Contact Tom Orr today to review all of your options and how to regain control over your financial life.