Bankruptcy has little impact on child support

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Parents in Illinois and throughout the country should be aware that bankruptcy generally will not absolve a parent of his or her obligation to pay child support. Child support is designed to protect the best interests of the child. Therefore, courts strongly believe that both parents should contribute financially toward raising their children. If a parent files for bankruptcy, it doesn’t act as a stay on any action to determine paternity.

It also has no impact on any existing child support order or an obligation to abide by it. A parent will still be responsible for paying any back support regardless of whether or not he or she asks for bankruptcy protection. Even if a support order is modified, parents are still required to pay any amounts that are currently in arrears. The modification only impacts future payments owed to a custodial parent.

Parents should also be aware that any payments designed to provide care for a child cannot be wiped out. For instance, if a child has medical bills that a parent is expected to pay, those bills generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. These are referred to as in the nature of support of a child, and a variety of other costs could be labeled as such in addition to unpaid medical bills.

When parents owe money to support their children, there are many ways in which child support enforcement may be carried out. In some cases, state agencies will move to garnish wages or intercept state tax refunds. The federal government may also intercept a tax refund and use it to partially or fully pay a past balance owed. Those who are struggling to make timely payments may want to ask for a modification to a current child support order.

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