No, bankruptcy does not discharge child support. Child support payments are one of the few debts that are not eligible for a discharge regardless of the chapter of bankruptcy filed. If your ex-spouse files under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, he or she will continue to owe the child support arrearage after the bankruptcy case is closed.
You are not permitted to pursue collection efforts for the past due child support during the Chapter 7 case without approval by the bankruptcy judge; however, most Chapter 7 cases are closed within 4 to 6 months after the filing date. Therefore, you may want to save money on attorney’s fees for appearing in bankruptcy court and simply wait until the Chapter 7 case is complete to begin a family court action to collect the child support arrearage.
How is Child Support Arrearage Treated in a Chapter 13 Plan?
Filing under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code is different because you must propose a bankruptcy plan that details how you intend to reorganize your debts. Child support arrearage is considered a debt and must be included in your bankruptcy case. Because past due child support payments are treated as priority unsecured debt, the arrearage will be paid in full through your bankruptcy plan.
If you complete your bankruptcy plan and remain current on all future child support payments, you can catch up child support arrearage over time rather than all at once. In most cases, you can avoid a family court contempt order by filing Chapter 13 to catch up past due child support payments and by remaining current on future payments.
Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Has Many Other Benefits Too!
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing has other benefits such as discharging other unsecured debts, stopping foreclosure and repossession, and stopping creditor harassment. It also gives you a fresh start at the end of your bankruptcy case and places you in a better financial situation than before you filed the case.