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Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?


If you’re paying child support, bankruptcy won’t discharge this obligation. If you receive child support, you will need to make sure that you include this income on your means test in your means test, which determines which chapter of bankruptcy you qualify for based on your income. Child support payments that are owed to you are the property of your bankruptcy estate.

Bankruptcy can be daunting. Before filing for Chapter 7or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should understand all of your options to ensure you don’t make any decisions that can negatively affect your future. A trusted bankruptcy attorney will help you navigate the process and provide the best solutions to protect your financial future.

If You Are Receiving Child Support and File for Bankruptcy:

Bankruptcy courts consider child support as income, so it is listed on the means test form. You are required to list ongoing child support payments on your Schedule I form if you have and will continue to receive regular payments. You should also make sure to exempt any child support arrears that you are owed because these payments can be viewed as property of the bankruptcy estate.

If You Owe Child Support and File for Bankruptcy:

In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your child support payments will not be eliminated or modified by the filing of a bankruptcy. Although child support is non-dischargeable under any bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 repayment plan can help you catch up on payments.  

Child Support Payments and Chapter 13

You have the opportunity to catch up on overdue child support payments in Chapter 13, but they must be fully paid back through your repayment plan. You must also continue making your ongoing regular child support payments through your Chapter 13 plan. Chapter 13 repayment plan cannot exceed five years, so that overdue child support payment might result in a higher monthly plan payment. Before you can receive a bankruptcy discharge in Chapter 13, you must prove to the courts that you’re up-to-date on all alimony and child support obligations.

Missed child support obligations are considered an unsecured priority debt. Regardless of how much total debt you owe, overdue child support gets paid before other unsecured debts, including credit card and medical bills. You must pay off all child arrearages before you can receive a discharge.

Middle Tennessee’s Top Bankruptcy Attorneys

Filing for bankruptcy shouldn’t be complicated. You can trust the help of our experienced attorneys to ensure a smoother process and help you every step of the way. 

Flexer Law has been serving the legal needs of Middle Tennessee residents since 1981. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to provide the best financial outcome for you.

We have three office locations throughout Middle Tennessee to accommodate your legal needs. Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll find the best solution to get your financial life back on track.

Flexer Law Office Locations

  • Nashville, TN
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Columbia, TN
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