Bankruptcy and Child Support – Can you Restructure Payments?
Life is not simple. We know that. People get married and they get divorced. They have children and they have child support payments. All of this is a reality and is nothing to ever be ashamed of.
We also know that financial problems can affect a person’s ability to make their child support payments. It is important to remember that:
- Child support payments are not optional – they must be paid.
- Getting behind on child support payments can lead to serious legal trouble.
But what happens if you can no longer afford the payments? What if you get behind?
Today, we want to discuss whether or not bankruptcy can help you when it comes to your child support payments. Please remember that these are serious legal issues and you should speak to an Arizona bankruptcy attorney as well as someone who specializes in Arizona family law before making any decisions.
What this means for you
We know that, as a parent, you want to do everything you can for your child. The purpose of child support payments is to fulfill the requirement that both parents continue to support their children in the event of a separation.
- Court ordered child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
- Debt accrued from missed child support is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Please understand that the family law court in Arizona takes these payments very seriously. You can end up in jail for failing to pay child support.
However, there are some options for relief.
If you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then a repayment plan could be what you need to get back on track. Chapter 13 will examine all of your debts and allow you to put them into a three to five-year repayment plan. Through the courts, you will pay a portion of your income that will be apportioned out to your creditors based on their priority.
- Chapter 13 will allow you to catch up on your child support payments because these payments are considered a priority in the eyes of the court.
- Chapter 13 will stop collections activity for back support payments.
This entire process will also ease your debt burden so you can continue to stay up-to-date on future child support payments.
What about Chapter 7?
We know that many people do not qualify for Chapter 13 and that the majority of bankruptcies in this state are Chapter 7.
- Chapter 7 will not discharge your owed child support or allow you to miss payments.
However, Chapter 7 will discharge most of your other debts. This means that you will be more financially secure and able to catch up on missed payments and stay current on future ones.
What if I’m the one receiving child support?
If you are receiving child support payments and are considering bankruptcy, do not worry. According to Arizona state law, child support payments are exempt and cannot be touched. You will continue to receive these payments as you go through the bankruptcy process and after your debts are discharged.
We can get to work helping you today
It is time to reclaim your financial life. Yes, you may have child support payments, but that does not mean you have to struggle from day-to-day. If you are having trouble making your payments or are otherwise buried in debt that has become unmanageable, please speak to an Arizona bankruptcy attorney today.
It is time to get back onto firm financial footing. You can set up a payment plan for your back child support and stay caught up while also restructuring your other debt.
Click here for information on dealing with post bankruptcy debt in Arizona.