What Effect does a Bankruptcy Filing Have on Child Support?

A bankruptcy filing does not discharge an obligation to pay child support.   To the contrary, since other debts are discharged, funds that might have been paid toward other debts can be freed up to pay child support.

The Child Support Blog cites the recent case of  former NFL wide receiver André Rison to illustrate this point.  A bankruptcy court  ordered Rison into involuntary bankruptcy so that  $105,000 in child support arrears can be paid.

While some unsecured debts can be wiped out or reduced in a bankruptcy, other obligations, like child support, are "nondischargeable." This means that the bankruptcy filing does not wipe them out or reduce them. These debts must be paid regardless of the bankruptcy.

In fact, the 2005 revisions to the Bankruptcy Code made “domestic  support obligations” like alimony and child support a top priority. In order to obtain a discharge under Chapter 13, the debtor must provide for full payment of priority debts, including arrearages in domestic support obligations and certify that all post-petition domestic support obligations have been met.

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