Can Bankruptcy Cancel my Child Support Debt?

If you are behind on child support payments, you know how overwhelming this financial burden can be. Luckily, there may be a way for you to catch up on those payments while still keeping your home, car, and other important assets. Read on to learn more about child support debt and how filing for bankruptcy may be able to help.

Can I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to Catch up on Child Support?

There are several benefits to Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is especially true if you are someone who is far behind on their child support payments. Chapter 7 may be a more straightforward, and often cheaper process, but if you are falling far behind on payments, it is most likely not the best option for you. On the other hand, Chapter 13 offers several important benefits. For example, Chapter 13 immediately halts the collection of all unpaid child support or alimony. Additionally, Chapter 13 is also very useful in that it allows individuals to restructure their debt and payments of that debt flexibly and safely, which Chapter 7 does not.

Does Chapter 13 Halt the Collection of Unpaid Child Support?

It is important to know that even if your child support payments are halted through bankruptcy, they cannot be permanently removed. Child support payments are known as “non-dischargeable” debts, meaning that they cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Child support payments can only end if the family court determines that they can end. This may happen if your child reaches the age of emancipation, among other factors.

That being said, Chapter 13 bankruptcy does allow you to rearrange your payments via a 3-5 year plan. This means that the moment you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there will be an “automatic stay,” which blocks creditors from all collection activities, throughout the remainder of that 3-to-5-year period.

If you are facing financial trouble, and you have fallen behind on child support payments, you may need the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Contact our firm today. We are here to explore all of your options and walk you through the process every step of the way.


Michael D. Pinsky, P.C. represents clients in bankruptcy actions and related matters. Please call 845-394-2616 or contact the firm online to schedule a consultation.

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